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Memory Sticks, Digital Cameras & the Law

By MC_User ·
I have a technical question that might solve a legal matter.

About a year ago a man was caught taking pictures with a digital camera. He was underneath the bleachers during a high school basketball game. The assumption was that he was taking unusually angled shots of the girls in the stands, without their permission.

The man was caught by security and the police were called in to arrest the man. However, because he was using a digital camera he had erased everyting in the camera and no proof remained to convict him with. The best they were able to do was escort the man off of grounds.

My question is, were the images on the stick actually erased, or were the still recoverable?

Does a memory stick act like a hard disk where youonly erase an index to the data? Are there utilities that could have recovered the images?

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by TheChas In reply to Memory Sticks, Digital Ca ...

Yes, there are utilities to recover deleted files from removable flash memory.

I mis-placed the link I had, and the utilities do not work with all types of removable memory.


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And No!

by GuruOfDos In reply to Yes

If the flash memory has simply had the file headers removed (rather like removing a directory entry on a hard disk) or been quick-formatted then the data can be recovered. If the data has been physically erased by writing alternate ones then zeros to all memory adresses on the card (as my digital camera does on full erase) then there is no way on this planet that any data can be recovered! Unlike hard disks where it is possible to read weak magenetic patterns on a disk surface even if it has been erased, this is simply not possible with flash or EEPROM memory. A simple google search for 'Physics Flash Memory' will find a dozen pages explaining how and why! I will willingly pay a years salary to the first person who can demonstrate to my face that flash memory that has been fully erased CAN be recovered. I have a stick of flash acidentally erased containing some vital images and even the best data recovery and IT forensics people I know within the UK and several European police forces have not been able to find any latent data on the flash by any method.

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Digital Picture Recovery

by timwalsh In reply to Memory Sticks, Digital Ca ...

Don't know if this is the same utility Chas is referring to but here's one possibility:

Here's another one:

Run a search on Google ( usingthe keywords "recover data from flash memory" and you will get an extensive list of compnies that provide a recovery service as well as some vendors that sell software to do this.

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