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From the UK yet again: a quietly devastating expert report

September 6, 2013 0 Comments


Via the Register comes this post at the website of Ross Anderson (PhD), a computer science professor and scholar at Cambridge who also serves as an expert witness. Anderson was asked to opine in a criminal case in which an individual wearing a tracking bracelet (as an alternative to spending time in jail) was accused by the private firm that manufactures the devices and monitors their status of having tampered with the bracelet. Anderson, with permission, posted a redacted version of his expert report (PDF), which is pretty well summarized by paragraph 32:

Given that the monitoring system appears to be flaky, with a high rate of false alarms, buggy back-end systems and chaotic supporting procedures, and that the forensic report produced by the prosecution has clear errors in logic and defects in methodology, I recommend that the court enable me to conduct a proper independent forensic examination. For this I will require access to the system.

My understanding is that the private firm (Serco) dropped the matter after receipt of Anderson’s report. A wise move.


About the Author:

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at

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