Award 2018: prof. Battiato tells us about the new frontiers of investigation

“During its ultra-twenty years of experience, he has deepened and developed the theme processing, quality improvement and image compression, consulting activity for the main Italian prosecutors on issues related’s imaging in forensics.” E ‘for this reason that Prof.. Sebastiano Battiato, professor at the University of Catania, was honored during the ceremony of Investigation & Forensic Awards which was held last November in Milan.

We Phersei we met him after his own prize in one of the classrooms in Catania that every day he has been engaged with projects and scientific studies related to the world of the investigation.

He recently received the “Experience” award for Investigation & Forensic Awards. It is a recognition that the development of issues related to the images and as a consultant for major Italian prosecutors. But what is his business exactly?
It is a branch of forensic science that deals with applying the principles of scientific evidence to those who are so-called digital artifacts. To ensure the parties that a given computer can enter the inside of a procedural or investigative dossier in is necessary to apply a series of protocols and appropriate methodologies. In the particular case of the images and digital video, the expert is asked to scientifically analyze this data in order to highlight or bring out more traces. Several are therefore possible applications, ranging from general improvement of one or more parties to highlighting the details of a face, a plate, etc.. or the analysis of CCTV footage for the reconstruction of the dynamics of criminal events. Finally,

What are the services that are most needed and by whom?

Over the years we have worked with leading Italian prosecuting authorities to support investigations and trial although there have recently been more and more frequent even demands from the world of private investigations in areas linked to or in support of the reconstruction of trends in road accidents or even to try to identify details about theft, extortion attempts, malicious acts. The number of cameras installed in our city is constantly increasing and consequently
Also the number of cases that can be solved or at least well directed thanks to these technologies. In general then we can say that there is now research that does not use at various levels of the so-called electronic trace. An analysis of the records, payments by credit or debit card you can always 
look for comparisons in the movements of persons suspected or to be controlled by referring to various IT tools type.

How is evolving the field of investigations?

The development of ICT has enabled the world of investigation to make great strides in terms of analytical capabilities both in terms of data availability hailing from multiple sources. On the other hand, however, there remains the problem of being able to analyze, often in a short time large amounts of data and rigorously. From this point of view only with the help of experts you may be able to cope with the increasing complexity that results.

On thing you are focusing scientific and technological research?

Also in this area Artificial Intelligence and related activities are increasingly present. E ‘can now infer evidence or hidden relationships between data with the help of increasingly sophisticated algorithms. It ‘a few months ago the news of the adoption even by FF.OO. Italian new software for facial recognition that can compare in real time the face of a suspect in a database of millions of people with a really impressive reliability and robustness. To keep
up public institutions, universities and research centers must work as a team and collaborate proactively; in our case, for example, at the University of Catania, we put on a university spin-off, iCTLab (www.ictlab.srl) that just work in this area and through which we try to make the infamous technology transfer that is so speaking but in practice for the academy is always difficult to achieve.

She turned at the University of Catania a course on Computer Forensics? What kind of expertise is able to accommodate the field of investigations?

The course in Computer Forensics is now active for several years and aims to “evangelize” by the students of our university and not only the basics of the discipline both from a technical point of view and from the legal / forensic. We have the pleasure of hosting every year professionals, members of State forces and the judiciary that tell us through the seminars, each from its own point of view, the difficulties and the new challenges that the reality of every day, on cases concrete and tangible are brought to the attention of the experts. The course is also usable in e-learning mode on a dedicated YouTube channel and is popular in single mode over even by professionals of various categories (lawyers, engineers, FF.OO). From this year the course, which is hinged at the degree course in Computer Science, it will be called Digital Forensics from 48 to 72 hours. This will enable us to further deepen the technical aspects, also adding to the program of practical sessions and laboratory. The tests then allow students to engage in the preparation of technical advice, on one or more case studies, simulated course, but that reflects in every way the typical situations in which the digital investigator must give support.