Extract from Chris Dale’s article “Picture metadata brings Igor back from the dead”
Several of my favourite themes come together in the story of the couple who faked the husband’s death to claim on his life insurance policy. The plot, which you can read about here, was undone in part because the metadata / EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data of a photograph of the “dead” man showed that it was taken on a camera which was not released until after his “death”.
For all the modern focus on discovery by smart analytics or artificial intelligence, I quite like the ones which depend on old-fashioned observation of something which doesn’t look quite right. As you may have noticed, I appreciate the stories where deduction turns on metadata, because they help explain why the data behind the data is at least as important as the data itself. It supports Craig Ball’s contention, which I repeat often, that availability of electronic evidence means that this is now the best time to be a trial lawyer (my interview with Craig Ball about this is here). It appeals to that part of me which, as a child, watched Perry Mason keeping his powder dry until just the right moment to blow the opposition’s case to pieces.