2018 Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) International Symposium – 9-13 September 2018

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The ANZFSS 24th International Symposium “Forensic Science Without Borders” was held in Perth and attended by over 700 delegates including our Andrea Devlin (www.anzfss2018.com). The Symposium had multiple streams of oral and poster presentations covering a range of forensic disciplines and topics including: Document Examination; Fingerprint Examination and Biometrics; Science, Justice and Legal Issues; Management and Quality Assurance; Crime Scene Investigation; Biological Criminalistics; Chemical Criminalistics; Education and Training; and Electronic and Digital Evidence.  Andrea gave an oral presentation in the Document Examination stream titled “Evaluation of Wacom’s Electronic Handwritten Signature Technology” and attended many interesting talks in the plenary sessions and in the Document Examination, Science, Justice and Legal Issues, and Management and Quality Assurance streams. Human factors, and specifically avoiding bias, were a common topic that featured in many of the talks.  Forensic Document Services implemented peer review decades ago and context information management procedures were formally implemented in early 2017.

IAFCI NSW Chapter Quarter #3 Meeting, 21 September 2018

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

 Michelle Novotny attended the recent meeting of the NSW Chapter of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI) in Sydney.  The session allowed member representatives from the banking, betting, insurance and motor finance industries to provide updates to the group on fraud trends that they are seeing within their various organisations.  Alex Cherniakov of (credit bureau) Equifax provided statistics for recent years by fraud type and advised that identity takeover has grown significantly.  The top three fraud types all rely on false documentation.  It is evident that, even in this digital age, document fraud is rife.  If you are investigating or litigating a matter of possible fraud and come across questionable documentation, the forensic document examiners at Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd can assist you in determining their genuineness or otherwise.

Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Inc. (AAFS) meeting, 15 August 2018

Thursday, 23 August 2018

On 15 August, 2018 Michelle Novotny attended the plenary session of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences Inc. (AAFS) in Sydney.  The evening’s topic was “Identifying experts: The (cognitive) science of recognising and communicating expertise”, presented by Associate Professor Kristy Martire.  The presentation was structured around considering five main questions: What is an expert? Are forensic scientists experts? Where does expertise come from? Can jurors identify experts? And do jurors understand expert opinion?  (http://forensicacademy.org/site/?page_id=1043)  Having heard A/Prof Martire speak a number of times to varying audiences (including earlier this year at the ASFDE Inc. conference), Michelle really enjoyed the rich new information shared with the AAFS members.  A/Prof Martire included reference to data from some of her recent studies (which are in preparation and submission) relating to juror perception of experts and expert opinions.  As with all research, while some answers are found, often many more questions arise that need to be asked in the pursuit of justice.

IAFCI NSW Chapter Quarter #2 Meeting, 29 June 2018

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Michelle Novotny attended the recent meeting of the NSW Chapter of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI) in Sydney.  Mathew Demetriou and Adam Emslie of GBG spoke on the intriguing topic of “The Rise of Machine Learning in Fraud Detection”, enlightening the audience on the differences between supervised and unsupervised learning and how machines can provide predictive and proactive information relating to fraud and potential fraud.  Shane De Kauwe of Polonius educated the audience on “Fraud Investigation Laws” and the importance of considering cross border transactions and discrepancies in various State legislations relating to fraud.  This meeting’s NSW Police Force update discussed mail theft.  Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd is pleased to accept the invitation of NSW Chapter president, Con Nikolaou, to contribute to the program of the IAFCI NSW Chapter Training Day: Asia Pacific Financial Crimes Symposium in October 2018.

2018 Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc. (ASFDE Inc.) AGM – 24 May 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc. Steven Strach and Andrea Devlin were re-elected to the executive committee as ordinary committee members.

2018 Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc. (ASFDE Inc.) Scientific Conference – 22 to 25 May 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Last month Paul Westwood, Michelle Novotny, Steven Strach and Andrea Devlin attended the annual scientific conference and AGM of the ASFDE Inc. held at the Australian Federal Police Forensics facility in Majura, ACT.  This was the Society’s strongest program to date, filling three days with quality workshops and one day of podium presentations, and including four international guest speakers and two guest speakers from non-forensic document examination disciplines.  The Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd team contributed two half-day workshops on “The Examination of Digitally Captured Dynamic Signatures and Handwriting” in conjunction with Nick Mettyear of Wacom’s Global Signature Team, as well as podium presentations titled “Evaluation of Wacom’s Electronic Handwritten Signature Technology”, “An update of FDE standards development through the NIST OSAC for FS and the AAFS ASB” and “Show and Tell - Historical Items from the First Days of ESDA”.  Two upcoming large scale research projects were also introduced on behalf of overseas colleagues: “Accuracy and reliability of forensic handwriting examination conclusions – an introduction and request for FDE involvement” and “Cognitive Human Factors and Forensic Document Examiner Methods and Procedures – an introduction and request for FDE involvement”.  Michelle Novotny was the recipient of an ASFDE Inc scholarship to attend and contribute to the meeting.  The high quality of the program was reflected in the largest attendance of forensic document examiners in the history of the ASFDE Inc. (in excess of 50 attendees), and instigated invaluable discussions among the group and with the presenters.

Release of White Paper: Evaluation of Wacom’s Electronic Handwritten Signature Technology – 21 May 2018

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

After many years of collaboration with Wacom Global Signature Team and its predecessors and a two and a half year long detailed research project, the team at Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd is proud to announce the publication of a summary of its research findings on the “Evaluation of Wacom’s Electronic Handwritten Signature Technology” in a White Paper (http://signature.wacom.eu/service/fde-white-paper/).  Steven Strach, Michelle Novotny and Andrea Devlin continue to work on the project to finalise two further scientific papers (on the examination methodology and the full study itself) with a view to publication of these in peer reviewed and internationally recognised scientific journals.  The research findings have been presented at the Australasian Society of Forensic Document Examiners Inc. 2018 conference in Canberra, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners 2018 conference in Part City and at the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society's 2018 symposium in Perth.  This research has given rise to a number of further research possibilities which Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd looks forward to pursuing.

Seminar to the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

On 22 February 2018, Paul Westwood OAM presented an overview of the field of forensic document examination to members of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) at the University of Canberra.  The presentation was aimed at alerting AICCM members to the latent information that may be imbedded in documents and which could be of some historical significance.

Notarial Education Day – The Society of Notaries of New South Wales Inc and The College of Law, Sydney on Monday, 29 January

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

 On 29 January 2018, Michelle Novotny again presented a seminar on “Frontline Document Authentication” as part of the two day program for The Society of Notaries of New South Wales Inc and The College of Law, Sydney.  The session related primarily to features of genuine, counterfeit and altered “identity” documents, but also touched on how other documents that may be presented to a Notary may be fraudulent.

11th European Network of Forensic Handwriting Experts (ENFHEX) Conference and Business Meeting, Bled, Slovenia, 4-6 October 2017

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Steven Strach attended the ENFHEX conference and business meeting held in the beautiful small resort town of Bled in Slovenia in the foothills of the Julian Alps.  On 6 October Steven co-presented an Electronic Signature and Handwriting Workshop with Nick Mettyear of Wacom. This was one of four workshops presented during the conference, two of which were on the topic of digitally captured signatures. It was an excellent meeting with high quality workshops, presented papers (11) and posters (9) on all aspects of the forensic examination of signatures and handwriting.  Credit must be given especially to the dynamic Chairman of ENFHEX Jonathan Morris (SPA Forensic Services, Glasgow, Scotland, UK) and to Nataša ŽENER (Nacionalni Forenzični Laboratorij, Ljubljana, Slovenija) for organising and running such a successful conference. As noted in a previous post, dated 14 September 2016, Forensic Document Services Pty Ltd became an Associate Member of ENFHEX, which is an Expert Working Group of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI).  Especially given the quality of this meeting, FDS hopes to be able to attend and contribute to as many future ENFHEX biennial conferences as possible, and plans to take part in the ENFHEX proficiency testing program.

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