European forensic experts have published for the first time a practical guide for analyzing manipulated audio files
The amount of manipulated audio files circulating on the Internet and on social media channels is increasing steadily. This can have far-reaching social, but also legal consequences. On the one hand, people can be deliberately misled or deceived by false or manipulated information. On the other hand, audio recordings are very often used as evidence in judicial cases. Undetected manipulations in audio data can have serious consequences in all these cases, but are almost impossible to detect without the correct expertise and appropriate tools.
Best Practice Manual for forensic laboratories and forensic analysis
Which criteria and what kind of tools and frameworks should be used to examine audio material? The working group on "Forensic Speech and Audio Analysis" of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) has released a practical guide for forensic laboratories and forensic scientists. This helpful guide describes technical procedures, necessary hardware and software, quality principles, and training recommendations, but also very practical approaches and methods for the forensic authenticity analysis of digital audio recordings.
Recognized audio forensics expert from Fraunhofer IDMT is part of the author's team
Luca Cuccovillo from the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau is one of the main authors of the best practice manual for digital audio authenticity analysis. Cuccovillo is a distinguished researcher in audio forensics, with specific expertise in the analysis of processing traces and in the detection of manipulated audio content. Since January 1, 2023, he supports the steering committee of the ENFSI Expert Working Group on Forensic Speech and Audio Analysis with his competencies.
ENFSI sets a sign against crime across Europe with this publication
ENFSI is a transnational association of forensic experts and institutions. The aim of the network is to establish an exchange of information across national borders and to participate in the latest developments of forensic science. In addition to the general work in the fields of quality and competence management, research and development as well as education and training, 17 different expert groups are working in different specific forensic fields.
With the publication of its practical guide, the ENFSI Working Group on Forensic Speech and Audio Analysis has achieved an important goal. "With analysis methods, recommended tools, procedural guidelines and training advice harmonized throughout Europe, manipulations can be tackled much more successfully", says forensics expert Luca Cuccovillo.
AI-based forensics tools to fight against disinformation
The guidelines in the best practice manual can be used beyond the authenticity analysis of audio evidence in court proceedings. The recommendations and advice collected within the manual are also suitable for the analysis of social media content and make an important contribution to target the fight against disinformation.
Likewise, Fraunhofer IDMT is involved in various research projects together with broadcasters, media companies, news agencies and other research institutes on AI-based solutions for detecting disinformation, beyond the audio forensics domain. The goal of the joint work is to develop reliable and trustworthy tools for detecting manipulated or synthesized content.
The "Best Practice Manual for Digital Audio Authenticity Analysis" is publicly available on the ENFSI website.
More information about ENFSI in general and the work carried out in the expert groups can be found here: https://enfsi.eu/.