Audio & Video Software forum

Question

Can you determine if a MP3 file has been edited?

I received an MP3 from the State of Florida in a public records request. Amazingly (note the sarcasm) the most important MP3 file lasts on 56 seconds and Florida claims it was just a technical problem with the recording, nothing nefarious. I have reason to believe someone edited the file, but how is that proved?

I have already done the only thing I know which was to look at the file properties. Nothing..

But what is unusual is that Windows Explorer says the file is 2:12 long (which is way to short) but the audio stops at about 56 seconds and the file stops playing.

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All Answers

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Answer
I'm going with no. And this has priors.

In reply to: Can you determine if a MP3 file has been edited?

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Answer
Date

In reply to: Can you determine if a MP3 file has been edited?

Does the date on the file match the date of the occurrence taped? I mean the created date and then also check the last modified date on it. You can do that in explorer if you add those columns. That would work if there is meta data in the file.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ID3

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No Help

In reply to: Date

I went and added every date field. Didn't help because Florida had uploaded the file to their server and when I downloaded it on my end, if those fields show anything, they show the date that I downloaded the file. I don't trust the agency that had to disclose the file, so I asked for an independent investigation, but I don't think that is coming.

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While the real issues are about trust.

In reply to: No Help

I think the problem about length is the same as ever. "VBR (Variable Bit Rate) MP3 files may report false time length."

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VBR ?

In reply to: While the real issues are about trust.

The problem is I know the interview is at least 30 minutes.. A standard MP3 recorder would have been used, and not a phone. I don't really understand VBR, but it should be reporting way more time. This was a interview where the person accused of misconduct was high ranking in the department, hence the reason they have zero credibility when just this audio gets destroyed and it is now a subject of my lawsuit against the state.. They have every reason to destroy it, but its up to me to prove it.

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motion for discovery

In reply to: VBR ?

Looks like you may have to file in court and take the long expensive route, filing motions of discovery and finding who actually collects the files originally, who was on duty that day, etc. and then some depositions.

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Discovery

In reply to: motion for discovery

I understand all of that and the responsible people will be depo'd...

But a depo is not a technical issue which I can catch them lying in.. The purpose of the thread was to determine if there was a way I can do this and then ratchet up the pressure.

If I have technical data that I could point to, then people get investigated for destroying evidence. But without a basic understanding of what I am looking at, it seams unless there is some very expensive tool that can look at the data, then I cant prove anything.

I will ask for the actual file that will contain whatever meta data that is available, instead of downloading it from their site.

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You have your evidence already.

In reply to: Discovery

Simplify it. You have a few minute recording for a 30 minute interview. While it doesn't lay blame it's a de facto hole in the evidence that is filled in with depositions and a new interview.

I'm surprised your lawyer didn't catch that one.

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I get that

In reply to: You have your evidence already.

I get that.. The problem is,,, Now that there has been an official report, the witness can now tailor future testimony to the report. Also, without proof of an edit, which is what I am trying to figure out here, their claim is its just a technical failure and I can take my conspiracy theory and leave.

If they claim simple technical failure, they cant prove it and I cant prove it,

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Talk with your lawyer again.

In reply to: I get that

There's a hole in the recording, and the lawyer gets the deposition then you are deposed as well. At some point the lawyer makes a claim "this" is a lie and states why.

Just because they lie on a deposition doesn't make it a truth. You and your lawyer build the case.

Then again I've run into folk that didn't get the lawyer and they are trying to make a case and make a mess of things that when the lawyer is finally on the case has to unravel.

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understand

In reply to: Talk with your lawyer again.

Oh ya.. My lawyer is well aware.. there is still 2 months before the depo of this person.. I need to get all the information now,, and not wait..

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We're still back to your lawyer.

In reply to: understand

They need to know what you are doing and guide you as to if it will do harm or help.

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I worry about this.

In reply to: understand

It's your lawyer that gets this information. You can supply what you want but if you create information the opposition may get what you created tossed out. Again, your lawyer must guide you here.

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I worry about this.

In reply to: understand

It's your lawyer that gets this information. You can supply what you want but if you create information the opposition may get what you created tossed out. Again, your lawyer must guide you here.

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This is why I brought VBR and issues about Windows and time.

In reply to: VBR ?

I've supplied reasons why and vetted my answer so you can research why this happens to the reported length versus actual. But once in a while folk are not interested in technical details and will respond they don't know which is OK. They are after something else.

Since you have a lawsuit, just supply this information to your lawyer who is handling the case. I've found all lawyers I've worked with for decades to accept the technical assist and learn more as needed. It's not all up to you.

As to the interview, your lawyer should have tried getting a new deposition ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deposition_(law) ) but I imagine you feel they would be lying which is where you and your lawyer build the case.

In short, you're going to get back with your lawyer.

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