The lack of technical knowledge may have just influenced an important lawsuit. New York Times reports the defense of shooter Kyle Rittenhouse incorrectly claimed that the iPad’s zoom pinch function could modify the footage of the incident, “creating what it thinks is there, not what necessarily exists.” This provoked a discussion between the lawyer and Judge Schroeder, who claimed that the burden was on the prosecution to show that the paintings remained in a “virgin state”, and not on the defense to prove the manipulation.
The judge may have accepted the argument. He rejected the prosecution’s request for an adjournment and instead asked for a 15-minute break, suggesting the team could find an expert to support their claim during that period. They are not, and The Verge he noted that the trial continued so that the jury watched the video without zooming in on a Windows computer connected to a TV in the courtroom.
As you can imagine, the defense’s claim toyed quickly and freely with the truth. Zooming fingers to zoom on all devices can use algorithms, but only to scale the image – it does not change the content itself. This was an attempt to prevent the jury from getting a clearer view of the action rather than a real challenge to the integrity of the video.
The court scene highlighted the recurring problem of technical inexperience in criminal cases. When judges and law enforcement do not understand how technology works, they can set unrealistic expectations or even distort the outcome of cases. Police have repeatedly searched for Alex recordings with the unfounded assumption that smart speakers always record, for example. Although it is not clear whether the incorrect pinch-to-zoom claim will significantly affect Rittenhouse’s fate, it certainly did not help the jurors.
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