Records Are Power

In this age of super-abundant digital records, if you fail to keep good records yourself, then you risk that your adversary will possess records that will surprise and embarrass you.

Adversary's Surprise Video

Observe what happened to a Montgomery County police officer in a DUI traffic ticket case.  She testified in court that as she approached the defendant's vehicle, the defendant was in the driver's seat.  But then the defendant dramatically produced a third-party security video showing that the defendant was in fact in the back seat!  The police officer then admitted that she handles lots of cases and she can't remember everything.  The defendant won the trial.

Prosecution for Perjury

But the police officer's problems were just beginning.  The local prosecutor indicted the officer for perjury.  Dan Morse, "Montgomery Officer's Testimony in DUI Case Leads to Perjury Charge," Washington Post, Aug. 22, 2009.  Had the officer been keeping more meticulous records of each of her investigations, she could have avoided this trap.

Lesson: Police Need Audio and Video Recorders

A police department is wise to equip officers with voice and video recorders for quick capture of detailed records on-the-spot.


Mr. Wright teaches the law of data security and investigations at the SANS Institute.

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