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Foreign Experts Want Original, Not Pirated

What follows is a lot of silliness on the part of Lingam’s lawyer. Feel free to skip it, I’m just documenting it for reference on determining Lingam’s strategy.

Lingam wants to call own digital experts

Lingam’s counsel R. Thayalan said the foreign experts will allow the commission to compare the evidence with that of CyberSecurity Malaysia’s senior forensics analyst Mohd Zabri Adil Talib.

In his testimony on Jan 15, Zabri confirmed that it was Lingam in the video clip. He had said that audio tests confirmed this.

But Thayalan argued yesterday that the two London-based digital experts they consulted said it was not possible to conduct audio and video identification tests on a copy of a digital file.

Chairman Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor at this point, shook his head.

“We already have two witnesses (Loh Mui Fah and his son Loh Gwo Burne) who gave direct evidence that it was Lingam who spoke on the video clip.

“Now we have to test the evidence of expert witnesses,” he remarked.

But Thayalan persisted: “The task for determining authenticity must be done from the original recording.”


Thayalan then asked Zabri: Do you agree that you will need an original recording to determine the authenticity of the recording?

Zabri: No. The evidence provided was sufficient and authentic enough for analysis.

Thayalan: From the copy given to you, can you say for sure that its beginning and ending hadn’t been deleted?

Haidar at this point interjected: “So what?”

“The context will then be different,” said Thayalan.

“What difference does that make?” asked commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar.

Haidar: We are focusing on the 14 minutes that we have in the video clip. That is the only thing we are concerned with.

Thayalan: But before you is only a copy of the original.

Haidar: As far as the 14 minutes are concerned, why do we need to know whether it was longer or shorter? He (Zabri) has already given his view that authenticity can be ascertained.

Mahadev asked Thalayan for clarification when he finished his questions.

Mahadev: What I understand is that you are saying that if Zabri had used more sophisticated equipment, we would be more sure of the clip’s authenticity?

Thayalan: Yes.

Mahadev: And nowhere in your examination of Zabri have you suggested that his evidence is wrong.

Thayalan: No.


Earlier, Thayalan asked Zabri whether, when he conducted the audio recognition tests, he knew that the ‘unknown voice’ was Lingam’s.

When Zabri said he didn’t know before conducting the tests that it was Lingam’s voice, Thayalan referred to the names of the audio files.

“The first file was named ‘VK to CJ’ while the other was named ‘Sample V.K. Lingam’. I’m suggesting that you knew that the unknown voice and sample were V.K. Lingam’s,” Thayalan said.

“I don’t agree. ‘V.K.’ can stand for many things,” responded Zabri.

Haidar then remarked: “That’s right. Just like, there are many Indian women called ‘Jeyanthi’,” to the laughter in the gallery.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 26th January 2008 (link)

The statement by the London experts that they must have the original memory card for authentication struck me as odd. I’m a bit behind on the inner workings of computer hardware so to be fair, I decided to do some reading on how flash memory storage based devices (such as the memory card used in Gwo Burne’s camera) work.

This led me to conclude that the original memory card is only relevant in determining the exact date and time the clip was recorded. It is not needed to prove whether the voice recorded belonged to VK Lingam or not. So most likely the London expert’s definition of authentication included confirming date+time+identity of the person.

Thayalan also tried to prove some psychological bias on Zabri’s part, by highlighting the names of the files given to him. That would make sense if the authentication work done was non-technical. What Zabri did was compare voice-prints (graphs) which is almost completely technical and free from bias.


Written by ak57

January 26, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Lingam RC, Local News

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