P1 Tech Help: Advances in digital evidence storage and security

The new SanDisk WORM is intended to take the security of digital evidence to another level of protection


SanDisk has been manufacturing flash drives, cameras, camcorders, and several other digital media devices since 1988. Several weeks ago I spoke to a handful of SanDisk representatives who told me SanDisk was unveiling a new product geared toward the Law Enforcement community. I was told this product would revolutionize the way digital evidence would be used and stored.

Law Enforcement has been using a version of this product — the SanDisk SD card — for several years in cameras and digital voice recorders and it really has changed the way we gather evidentiary photos and voice recordings. For those of us unfamiliar with the SD card, it’s simply the small, plastic-encased item on which digital data is stored in your camera and recording devices. The card is slightly square in shape with an angled, beveled top left hand corner.

Now that the light bulb of recognition has appeared over your head, I will continue with an explanation of the new product offered by SanDisk.

The new product is shaped and functions just like the regular SD cards but with added security. This security enables the person recording the image or sound to enter the card as evidence but unlike other media the evidence recorded on this card will last for about one hundred years. Yes, that is correct one hundred years.

The card is called WORM (which stands for Write Once, Read Many).

It was explained to me that although this card is shaped and functions the same way as the typical SD card, it has a capacity of one gigabyte and has the added capacity to securely keep the voice recording or photo image for longer than our retirements will last.

The only caveat it has is you need a certain type of digital camera and voice recorder. The Fuji Film F200EXR-K, Nikon D90WORM and the Pentax K20D-W W80P are the only cameras with ability to use the new WORM disk. Olympus is the only manufacturer that will offer the only voice recorder with ability to use the WORM disk.

It was further explained to me the new WORM card will not be adversely affected by magnets and will have a password feature in the near future.

The SD WORM card is tamper-proof, meaning that once the data is recorded, it is write-protected. You could physically destroy the data but it can never be altered. SanDisk says it has a guaranteed life expectancy of 100 years and does not require costly climate-controlled storage the way film and regular magnetic tapes do.

The WORM card does not need any additional training, but as I mentioned before you need a particular device to proper lee use the WORM card security features it offers. Because the WORM card is the same size as the regular SD card, you can insert the card in a SanDisk reader, virtually any PC, laptop or even PDA’s.

Another security feature offered in the WORM card is they are all individually numbered. This feature eases evidence tracking and accountability.

I was told the Japanese National Police recently have changed from using the conventional film photographing to using digital photographing using the WORM card.

Although SanDisk focused the WORM card for Law Enforcement; the card can be utilized to “preserve the integrity of account receipts for tax purposes and can used in the medical field providing long term medical record storage and/or digital imagery.”

The pricing of the WORM card was yet to be determined as of this writing and once marketed here in the United States, I think many Law Enforcement agencies will adopt the WORM card as the standard for collecting digital evidence.

Stay Safe.

About the author

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

Contact John Rivera

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