2023 E-Crime Symposium: Cutting Edge Topics In Digital Forensics

Register for your place at the 2023 E-Crime Symposium: Cutting Edge Topics In Digital Forensics, and enjoy a 50% discount using the code ‘HCL_CT50’ at checkout.

Desi: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Forensic Focus. We’ve got another podcast for you. Si and I we’re joined with Rob Fried who has joined us before. Si mentioned that I think it was only about three months ago that we had you on, Rob. And we’ve got you back on mainly to talk about an upcoming event that you have helped organize. So, we’re very excited to talk about that. But thanks so much for joining us this morning (for you), so welcome.

Rob: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Desi: Awesome. So I guess we’ll jump straight into, I guess, the event that we want to talk about to, kind of, help promote around what you’ve done and then we can dig in a little bit around its origins and what it is and everything. But if you could just give us a brief rundown of that.

Rob: Yeah, so this is the Second Annual E-Crime Symposium. It’s an event that was conceptualized, I think close to two and a half years ago. We hosted it for the first time last year and it got really rave reviews and so we wanted to do it again. And this is a collaboration that I have going on with Dr. Henry Lee and his Forensic Science Institute, the Henry C. Lee Forensic Science Institute, on the campus of University of New Haven where I attended.

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And it was something that was an idea that we discussed as a way for me to give back to the university where I graduated from. And Dr. Lee focuses more on the human forensics element, and this was more specific on the electronic evidence side, so it was a great opportunity for us to collaborate with him and his team.

Desi: So New Haven, for the listeners is in…where is that?

Rob: Yeah, that’s in the state of Connecticut.

Desi: Okay.

Rob: It’s about an hour and a half north of New York where I live.

Desi: Right, okay. New York State or…?

Rob: New York City.

Desi: City. Okay. Yeah. Okay, cool.

Si: So you read forensics at New Haven or did you do something else there and you’re now…?

Rob: Yeah, so I have my undergrad and graduate degree from there, and that’s something that I was fortunate to do back in 2002. I graduated with my Master’s, 2001 with my undergrad. And I’ve always had close ties to the school. When I was in undergrad, I was pretty active in, just computers and I worked for Gateway Computers at the time while in school. And so I always had a knack for computers and I was in the forensic science program and the dean of the university, Dean Tom Johnson at the time was the head of the School of Public Safety and Professional Studies, and he approached me and said, “hey, I got a program in computer forensics, why don’t you come in and take some courses?” And that was a really nice fit for me.

When you do forensic science, you don’t realize how much science is actually in there. You’ve got chemistry, you’ve got biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, and then you have all your criminal justice coursework. But the computer was more of a, it was established, but it was a certificate program at that time. Now they have a master’s degree and everything else, but I was really in it in the beginning stages of the program developing into something more substantial.

Desi: Right. So how did, I guess this being the second one, how did the concept of the E-Crime Symposium come about? How did that all start?

Rob: Yeah, so basically the first thing we needed to talk about was the idea of what we can pull together. So predominantly forensic sciences, all the different aspects of forensics, which could be anything from DNA, blood splattering, you have anything from fingerprints to even digital photography. There’s so many different disciplines.

When you start getting into the electronic side, that’s where I had my specialty and I wanted to, kind of, bring together people that over the course of time I really had some good interactions with. So a little bit kind of about me, I do a lot of writing in general for both the forensics, the PI world and also eDiscovery. So I like to collaborate with a lot of people. And so the writing aspect allows me to really connect up with other people in the industry, such as software providers and manufacturers, thought leaders in those areas.

And it’s been a really rewarding experience for both myself and others, which allowed me to write two books in the last couple of years as a result. And this is just an extension of my continuing feeling to give back. I always feel like when you’ve reached a certain point where you could give back something, this is a great opportunity. So when Dr. Lee and I collaborated on an article a number of years back, we said, “let’s continue this collaboration”. We wrote a great article together for the PI magazine where I write each issue, and this was just an idea of putting some great speakers in front of different attendees, which range from anywhere from law enforcement personnel throughout the world as well as practitioners and also academics.

So it was a great idea that, like I said, got really good reviews the first time we did it, and now it’s just continuing to tap into my network of not only just practitioners out there, but really friends to say, “come join this event that we have”. And I’m really glad that we were able to get everybody engaged this time around.

Desi: So you had a good balance of academic research talkers (particularly talking about the first one) you had a balance of academic talkers and then people who had practical experience coming in and a normal cyber conference, you had practitioners come and talk as well, so you had a bit of a balance between the two. That’s really good.

Rob: That’s right. The first year we did it, we had people come in to speak about DeepFakes mobile investigations, a lot of different tools that are now being used to look at the breadth of evidence. So when you think about a solution, you look at a solution based on, “I have 10 different sources, how do I piece all this together?” So it’s really about using multiple tools and tools that are able to feed in from different data sources to help connect the dots.

Si: And you actually use the phrase come in, but it’s a virtual conference, isn’t it? It’s not actually an in-person one.

Rob: Yeah, that’s right. I believe that there is a lot of value to the in-person conferences. I always like to go to in-person training. I also like to go to in-person conferences. I just came back from Pasadena. I’ll be doing the ICAC convention, our conference coming up in a couple of weeks. But in terms of this, because Dr. Lee also has a very global following of people that like to learn from him as well, this was a great opportunity to not obligate speakers to travel and also give up more of their personal time.

I’m conscious of that (I do a lot of speaking myself), and this is supposed to be a very much a global reach type of event. And although we could do it hybrid where we have people on the campus as well, I think this is convenient for everybody involved. It’s the same impact because you have the speakers, you have the material that’s going to be presented, and it gives us an ability to be collaborative. We’re actually using a platform that allows everybody to speak and chat real time. So I’m looking forward to that format and platform.

Desi: Did you use that in the first one? Because I’m really interested in virtual conferences and how hybrid works. I’ve seen it work well and I’ve seen it work very poorly in various conferences. The first one was remote as well, was it?

Rob: It was, yeah, with COVID and everything, I’ve been conscientious of that myself. We were thinking about a hybrid for the first conference that actually turned into more of a…I need to travel as well. There’s people that are in different time zones. We had some people from overseas joining, and so I was just conscientious of that. So I wanted to make it so that it’s easy for everybody who was also respectful of time zones.

So those people who were in a very early time zone were able to go first, clear up their schedule, then wrap up the rest of their day, and I want to continue to do these events and I plan on doing several more in the future where it’s all going to be at the convenience of the experts that we bring in and allowing them to have a full two hours of a keynote, which is a great amount of time to go into the depth of a topic.

Desi: Yeah. Have you got an overarching theme for the symposium, or is it just you’re reaching out to people and you’re like, “hey, if it’s somewhat related to e-crime, come along and talk about it?”

Rob: So my approach is…I always think about people and I like bringing people together. So, a good example of that is that I had a lot of conversations and obviously was on here previously with Ryan Parthemore from Cellebrite, who actually I’m in fairly regular contact with in general. So he’s one of those people that is a true expert in principles and foundations of forensics and following things in terms of the ISO standards that we talked about and always have fascinating conversations.

Every time that we get on the phone with each other, it’s almost like webinar material. And then another person that I thought about along the same lines is John Rowe from Pinpoint Labs. I’ve used their software and their solutions for many years. They have solutions out there for different types of evidence that you would need to collect. And one of the things I always look and appreciate within the software that’s developed by that organization is that they have a lot of logging.

They have the forensic fundamentals in mind, hash values, things like that. So thinking about Ryan’s standardization and following fundamentals and forensics there and thinking about what John puts into his products, I thought that was a really good potential partnership there. And one of the things that I do is if I don’t know the speaker’s dynamics too well, I see how they mesh. So I got them on the phone and it was like a true marriage of the minds. And these guys are true practitioners with a lot of years of experience, and that just makes me feel great. We don’t even have the event, but we have two people that have such a passion about what they talk about that this is talking about forensic fundamentals.

Why is it important to have standardization in everything that you do in terms of the lab and also the software that you use? Since then, I’ve collaborated with both of them. I’ve collaborated with Ryan on an article as well as John. John and I wrote the article that’s going to be in the November/December issue of PI Magazine. So this collaboration is ongoing and I want to keep it up. I think that really helps me bring out the best in what I want to say and also gives others to contribute. And it’s really fun to do this together.

Si: Just for elucidation, for those of us who don’t live in America, PI to us…I mean the translation is private investigator, that’s right?

Rob: Yes.

Si: And what we see of that is like Sam Spade and sort of film noir-esque thing in my head. What the easy eating reality for a private investigator? What is the actual definition in the US?

Rob: So a private investigator helps out clients to find out information about things. So, somebody may come to us to track down lost relatives, or assets, or information about an individual or a group of individuals. There’s also surveillance that’s done. So it’s helping bring some level of investigation where somebody doesn’t want to go directly to law enforcement and wants to use different means to understand whereabouts and also what information’s out there, both in the public domain, but also there are a lot of paid services that you can use here that track down records and help people recover goods or find individuals, et cetera.

Si: So it’s a very tightly regulated industry is my understanding of it…

Rob: Yes, you have to be licensed. I’m licensed in three states. You can be licensed in multiple states. I’m licensed in New York. New York requires many years of experience. I actually had an interesting experience in New York. I was awarded it after a couple different appeals, but this is something where you are typically somebody who’s either worked for an agency where you’ve gotten experience or even a law enforcement agency where you’ve gotten experience. Now you are retired and looking for additional opportunities, and this is a route that you may take here in New York, for example.

Si: And how much of a PI’s role is digital forensics? Because again, my understanding of American law is sketchy at best, but there’s a very important distinction about warrants and gaining access to computer equipment.

Rob: Sure. So yeah, I don’t have any authority to arrest anybody or anything like that. It’s more about being able to show that you understand the fundamentals of investigations, that you’re competent. In fact, there was a push a number of years ago in the US to require computer forensic practitioners to get licensed as part of your needing or the scope of work that you were potentially doing of collecting or examining evidence.

So certain states have very, very strict regulations on whether or not you can even perform forensics. I have mine in South Carolina, there’s one in Michigan. New York is also somewhat…you have to understand the laws and everything within New York as well. However, in New York, it’s important for me to have it because I do want to let people know that I do understand how to perform an investigation, the necessary steps, and I’ve taken the time to get licensed to be able to show that competency so that I can assist people whenever they give me a call.

Si: And how does that licensing per state work? Is it that you have to be sitting in New York, but you can operate on data that comes from other states or is it…?

Rob: Yeah, so for the digital forensics work, every state you have to license individually. You have to take potentially a test, you have to get fingerprinted, you have to go through several different aspects of a background check. For example, South Carolina, there was a special agent assigned to my application process. I got that earlier this year.

They check out all your background. You also have letters of recommendation from people that you’ve known for X number of years that are not blood relatives, for example. And I have worked on cases outside of New York. I always check to see what the regulations are, but generally speaking, you want to check those regulations before you start a case to know what their regulations are.

Desi: I guess the symposium’s e-crime, what’s the kind of current trends that you’re seeing in e-crime? What are you expecting to be the big topics for the Second Annual E-Crime Symposium that you’ve got?

Rob: I think when you look at the industry right now, there’s a lot of buzz and there continues to be a lot of buzz about mobile forensics. I think…my latest article that I had written with a couple other colleagues and friends was about this advanced extractions that we’re now able to use the private sector here, and that’s a big game changer for us.

'When you look at the industry right now, there's a lot of buzz, and there continues to be a lot of buzz, about mobile forensics.' Click To Tweet

I remember just an analogy that somebody used where in the private sector we were part of the tailgaters outside of the stadium and now we’re in the stadium playing alongside everybody else and it’s opened up a lot of doors for us to look at information on the devices and potentially help people with unlocks of devices, but more so it’s about giving people access to more than what they would typically have gotten with advanced logical extraction.

So, I wanted to really make sure that we covered that well and who else is better to cover that than Heather Mahalik from Cellebrite and she’s going to be one of our star keynotes in addition to Jared Bernhardt, her colleague there at Cellebrite. So when I think about the people that I want to bring into this event, I always want to bring in the people who are the practitioners, but have also made significant contributions into the space so that we can understand that these people are speaking from experience, years of experience, and they’re also giving back to the community.

So this was a really wonderful opportunity to allow Heather to be part of it and also Jared, and also talk about a very important topic. I always explain to people, because I deal with it from more of the legal side and the PI side a lot, that the cell phones are something that’s constantly evolving. It’s not something that we’re going to be able to immediately have an answer for on whether or not it’s supported. We have to do our due diligence even before we commit to projects.

And also what the scope of the project is. A lot of times people come to us and they have expectations and you want to bring some level setting there and a reality check of what’s potentially possible versus not. And so I hope that in the talk in the keynote, they’re going to speak about the types of data that we have available now and talk about some of the interesting case studies.

So part of the keynotes are going to be topics that are very much trending out there, but also having a lot of case studies so you can bring in how these new innovations and topics are being seen, encountered with different investigations and give people more of a real understanding by real world examples of what’s out there and what they may see when they do their investigations or go into the industries.

Si: I mean, that’s great. I mean, I’ve heard Heather speak before and I don’t know her, but her speech that I heard previously was absolutely fantastic. So that’s a brilliant coup on your part together to come along and talk. So…

Rob: The other symposium or the other keynote that we have is chief, former chief of NYPD, chief of department, Terry Monahan. And what’s interesting is Terry came to speak at a PI event for…it’s called Albanese, and it’s the state organization of PIs in New York state. And he was such a dynamic speaker and he was somebody who is now retired from law enforcement and is talking about cryptocurrency and how that’s now being seen out there a lot with investigations, not only just financial investigations, but also identity theft. People are using this as part of schemes with identity theft.

And I really enjoyed his talk because he was talking to a group of PIs, but he also goes out to local law enforcement as well and explains to them how all this kind of works and some of the solutions that are out there. So he’s going to be joined by Joe Sar from Chainalysis and Chainalysis is one of the leading providers of analytics tools to investigate cryptocurrency.

So when you have the experience of Joe Sar, who’s a great trainer, and then you have the experience of world leading detective, law enforcement perspective of Chief Monahan, I think this is a great opportunity to listen to where things are right now, where they may go and just hear from people who have years and years of experience in the areas of investigation. I’m really looking forward to that one as well.

Si: In logistical terms, are you going to be able to make the recordings available if we can’t…? Because obviously we have some time zone issues between us as we figured out. If we can attend for part of it, will the recordings be available for other parts of it?

Rob: We’re working through those logistics on the availability of content after, but I will send out a message if you follow me on LinkedIn. I usually post about the event, any updates. But yeah, all those logistics are still being worked on. We’re currently putting all the content together on the platform and everybody just got back from another conference last week, so it’s conference season and eDiscovery, we have Ralph Fest going on this week, so it’s a busy time for conferences. I’m really thankful that my conference has gotten some attention and it’s got some really, to me, all-star speakers to really come in and shed some light on some really important topics in the field.

Desi: So in terms of, I guess also logistics, what’s the date and timing for the conference itself?

Rob: Yeah, so one of the really interesting things is people I guess don’t really get the full grasp of logistics, of planning certain things like we got together today, this was planned in advance, and so to try to get six plus people, also lock down Dr. Lee, he’s traveling the world. That was the thing. I had to send out surveys and then you get surveys out, they don’t work out, but we locked it down to Halloween, October 31st and it’s pretty amazing. We had to accommodate schedules and then more schedules, but I think that was great how that all came…everything else was really straightforward. The date was the hardest thing!

Desi: I love how to lock down six people to do a conference, you had to pick a holiday when people are off to do it and I definitely appreciate how hard it is. I know even between Si and I, when we want to record between ourselves, it’s a nightmare trying to organize time zones and our lives around just the two of us to get an hour. So, fully appreciate it and can understand why it’s on Halloween.

Rob: And then you get the rush of people the morning of the conference that are just like, okay, I want to see this today. Let’s all get registered. And so look, all the fun is there. I think my feeling after I’m done is just a really good feeling of bringing people together, really showing how great of a community we have, but also giving back. You have to take a step back and realize how much time and effort goes into things. And I always say to myself a couple of books that I’ve written that all’s my personal time…

Si: I was going to say I was lead into that one in a minute, which is given that you’re doing all of this, where the hell did you find time to write a couple of books?

Rob: Yeah, so I have a very nice wife and I think it’s something that you have to really find the best way to spend your time. And I do that late at night, early morning when there’s a little bit of peace in my house. My wife’s like, “I know you’re upstairs and you’re writing something, that’s good.” But the thing is is that that’s how my brain works. I feel like I have something to say on a topic. I’ve felt like I’ve always had an ability to relay information, and there was a lot of gaps in me coming right out of school and going into this field.

I went straight from being in academics to go to work for the National White Collar Crime Center and I had to teach this information to law enforcement. So, this has been bottling up in my brain for the last 22 years and just the amount of contacts, I mean, we had Ryan on the show together. We met years ago at National White Collar Crime. We just synced up in person at Techno Forensics West. It was so nice. But these are longstanding relationships between the law enforcement world, even the PI world because I’m writing, and it’s just a way that I feel like I have something to share and I want to give back.

Si: I’ve taken a look at…we do our prep sometimes for this podcast, sometimes! So, we were on Amazon yesterday…so going back to the organization, we don’t see how the sausage is made, but the sausage factory…Desi did a recording at six o’clock this morning and it’s now nine o’clock at night for you. I got it over two days of the time zones. It works fine for me, but he’s doing a double shift today.

But we were chatting yesterday for me, and this morning for Desi, and we were looking at your stuff and you’ve got two books out there at the moment. One seems to be a selection of collected essays. Is that a reasonable interpretation of it? Some of which have been on Forensic Focus I noticed from, so that’s obviously excellent content. I can’t say anything about that. But tell me more about the other one. I didn’t really get a chance to look into that one.

Rob: So the first book, I came up with a concept of wanting to put some PowerPoints together for people I always taught and I always compiled PowerPoints and that was my style. I wound up doing that and it became a Masterclass. And they said, “well, people learn in different ways and sometimes people are not going to go and purchase a Masterclass or maybe they don’t have time, so let me put this in a book format and then we can deal with the Masterclass separately”.

So I took a whole bunch of ideas about different data sources that are out there. We all go through scoping calls and those scoping calls last for half hour or an hour. And we’re always trying to figure out what needs to be done, how long will it take? And there’s no standard, right? Everybody’s using their own experience. But think of it from a standpoint of a student who’s coming out of school and either they can go two routes, they can go into law enforcement or they can go into a private sector, and there’s a need to bridge a gap of knowledge, right? Because you’re teaching different concepts in school, different tools, but at the end of the day, what you really need to do is understand how to consult people in a very challenging field.

I mean, we don’t go into people’s businesses in a very cheerful situation all the time. Something is wrong if we’re there to deal with an issue. I mean maybe if you doing forensic preservation, but at the end of the day, that preservation’s for anticipated litigation down the road. So we’re helping people solve issues, come up with solutions to things. And so I wanted to give a reference to everybody that they can keep on their desk that they can use coming into the industry so that it’s not an eye opening experience.

You know how many lawyers have told me now that this book is sitting on their bookshelf and they pick up the book in the last part of the book is questionnaires? Because every person who’s talking about what they need to help their clients with needs to talk about what type of data source, “tell me a little bit about do you use this for personal reasons, for business reasons, what’s the make…?” And just understanding about what you’re being put up against when you go and you help people out. And that’s invaluable to a lot of people.

But then you also have a quiz in the back that after every chapter, I put some real world questions out there for you so that you can gauge your understanding of the knowledge. Again, this all was a Masterclass first, and then I took my notes from the Masterclass and I put it into a book and they’re both available now out there.

Si: The Masterclass is on your website, isn’t it? I mean, I saw it this morning.

Rob: Correct. Yeah. And then half the time I always, I’m on the train, I’m commuting, and I said, “well, for a book of this nature where people are going to be in a car, maybe driving to work, I want it in a format that it’s also an audio book”.

Si: So you’ve recorded an audiobook as well?

Rob: Not me! Because I think you’d get tired of my voice after an hour, but I have some really nice woman who worked through this and she did a phenomenal job on it. I also have from my Masterclass, a very nice guy was able to help me out and a dynamic speaker as well be able to do that. And then I thought about it and everybody was like, “well, where’s your ebook format?” And I said, “I believe in physical books”.

This is a funny story, when I started working in the city 15 years ago, my dad’s like, “oh, everybody talks to each other on the train. Everybody reads newspapers. It’s an engaging environment”. I have not spoken to one person on the train. Everybody’s in their own world with their headsets and there’s something to be said about picking up a book and actually reading it because focused in on that. Sometimes my mind wanders when I’m listening to stuff and I want people to be able to use the book, physically highlight, just reference things in there and put it on their bookshelf.

And it’s really important to have that as a physical reference. But I’m thrilled that students have really enjoyed both the Masterclass and the book and that people are really giving really good feedback. It’s gotten different rankings on Amazon and I’m constantly amazed that it’s either doing really well, the audio or the paperback. But look, there’s no money to be made in publishing of books.

I'm thrilled that students have really enjoyed both the Masterclass and the book and that people are giving really good feedback. Click To Tweet

Si: I’m aware!

Rob: You have a couple, right? So I mean, my thing is is that this is really meant to give back to the community again, and you often see me giving copies away. People want autographs, which is still interesting to me.

Si: That’s weird, isn’t it?

Rob: Right. It’s interesting. I just gave one yesterday to a really good friend and mentor of mine, former colleague, and it’s a way for me to just give back to people in a way to give them some insight about the truly fascinating field that I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to contribute to.

Si: So is there another book in the making? Have you got plans to give back in another written form and to get printed?

Rob: So I’m always writing. I have another paper article coming out with John Rowe on innovation as well. I just wrapped up an interesting article on advanced mobile extraction, before that how data leaves an organization. And so my target audience is any investigator and really anybody who wants to learn. And so I actually authored the cyber sleuthing column of PI Magazine and that forces me to write. I’ve always written since I’m a young kid. I really enjoy it. But again, that just depends on how many chores my wife gives me on the off hours for me to actually have that time. But yeah, we have a one year old, so as the kids are getting older, hopefully that’s going to be okay, but my other two…

Si: I don’t want to disillusion you: no. It doesn’t get any easier. It gets different. It doesn’t get any less…No, I mean that’s really fantastic and as you can probably tell from the thing, I have quite a lot of value invested in written literature as well. So no, that’s fantastic. And the conference is, I mean, obviously this year is going to be a huge success. Are you already starting to think ahead to next year’s one?

Rob: I am, and it’s always a great feeling to be able to have a network where you have people that not only you can say are colleagues, but really good friends. And when you call them, it’s not a matter of “yes”, it’s a matter of “when do you need…when’s this happening?” And so I’m really looking forward to it and I want to continue the collaboration with Dr. Lee. He is a brilliant mind in the industry of forensic science. When I was in school with him, there was always an interest to collaborate.

It’s just, I guess about the perfect time and opportunity to do that. And over the last few years we’ve been in touch and he’s…for somebody who has been doing this 60 plus years, when I’m on the computer at 5 o’clock sending him drafts and he’s responding at 5:05 saying, “you’re just as crazy as me”. We both love to write and everything. So, we were writing these things and communicating and then we have phone calls. To have a professor now be a mentor and a friend and a collaborator is so refreshing to me and also have him write the forwards and really appreciate what I’m trying to put out there in an area that he has familiarity with, but really understands that this is also another division and the amount of respect that we have for each other is really important.

And to be able to both put in the effort to make this event a success. I have full access to his team of experts at the institute and full support of everybody there. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be able to work alongside people that were my professors and mentors 20 plus years ago, to now be on the phone with them and helping them plan something for the larger community with their full backing.

Si: That’s really cool.

Desi: So, I guess the last question that I had on the conference itself is: is there any being a virtual conference, any costs associated with it or if people are interested in…obviously we’re going to chuck it all in the show notes and everything, but for people that are interested in it…? Yeah.

Rob: So, the conference, and please remember, it’s a full day event, so it goes from 9 to 5 with an hour and a couple of breaks in between the keynotes, but the cost of it is 125 and then $25 for any students at the university. And if you are watching this podcast, please reach out to me directly and I can give you a discount code, a nice discount code if you want to attend this way.

There’s not going to be any challenge hopefully for some people. If that’s an issue, just reach out directly and we’ll get you set up. I think that for the value, and we all know some of the keynotes, the value of the speakers, the content that have them give you two hours of excellent content is going to be really important. I do a lot of conferences that are an hour, an hour and a half, but to get two hours worth of content from people who are doing this day in day out and are doing things at such an advanced level, going in depth into things and really studying it and being able to develop innovations and putting their thoughts into products and things like that, I’m just really thrilled.

It was a similar feeling last year when we had Amber Schroader on, and Rick Clark, and we had Shahaf Rosinski and Ronan Engler was part of it last year. It’s just an event that you’re really proud of the speakers that you’re able to get for the event, but also just when an event like that wraps up and it’s a long day and you see how much effort was put into it and that you get really good feedback.

That was rewarding and I couldn’t wait to plan this again. In fact, it was a little bit late in the game for me because having a lot of stuff going on at work, I run a practice for a company as well and then having to have this on my mind and saying, “I want this to happen, let’s get this going”. I just took the reins and started making some quick phone calls and got it all together. Again, the only challenging part was what data is everybody available?

Desi: Yeah, yeah. No, and the cost is definitely very reasonable compared to some of the conferences that Si and I see, particularly for the talent that you’ve got coming to talk. It’d definitely be interesting to see…it’s something that I’m definitely interested in, but challenging for APAC region, for US time zone. So definitely the platform and we’ll update this in the show notes, but if the platform supports watching it after the fact, if you get a ticket, definitely I can definitely see a lot of value for even people in our region coming along and being part of it. For sure.

Rob: I’ll definitely update you. That’s something that I have to speak to the institute about. They’re also involved in how they archive the information, but I’ll definitely let you know in the next couple of days what the status of that is.

Desi: Yeah, awesome. Yeah, that’d be really good.

Si: Yeah, I’m going to say we’re both interested in the online conferences, but actually I will say $125 is an incredibly reasonable price compared to some of the ones I’ve seen.

Rob: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a matter of being able to also be virtual so that there’s no cost associated with transportation. There’s no time out of the office. If you’re able to listen in and get some nuggets of information, that’s also useful. Again, it’s a matter of just taking some time and setting it aside to, and…you don’t have to attend every session, that’s one of the advantages too. If you’re interested in one or two of the sessions, do it at your own availability.

Desi: I appreciate…because it sounds like there’s just, it’s a full day and it’s one stream. I also appreciate the one stream being that a lot of the time when you go to conferences, there’s like four streams and then you get to a point where there’s nothing on a three hour block that you want to watch, and then there’s this one block where there’s four talks on and they’re all at the same time, and you’re just like, “why did this conference do this to me? I want to watch all these people.”

Rob: And you know what? Like I said, even the crypto, and I’ve taken courses on crypto before, and to have the former chief of department for NYPD on talking about crypto, I want to hear the stories, what he’s bringing to the table. I want to be able to hear the brilliant minds of Ryan and John talking about how their brain is able to create a solution that’s needed for our industry.

And then of course, listening to Heather and Jared speak about their experience of dealing with the plethora of phones that are out there and trying to come up with the solutions and educate the industry on what to do, how to address different devices and how to move forward. And she’s got a terrific following as well because of that. So, there’s just something to be heard from everybody involved.

And then Dr. Lee and I will welcome and also do the closing statements, and I’ll explain during those times about why the conference…how it was conceptualized, but why it’s so important because there’s so many opportunities for us to get together and collaborate. But when you give people a really solid amount of time to talk about a subject in depth, it really brings up a lot of interesting perspective. But also there’s interactivity involved with questions that could be asked and things like that. So, symposium is supposed to be a learning opportunity. I hope everybody does learn something from it and take away some really valuable information that they can use day to day.

Si: Yeah, it sounds incredibly promising. And I would, on the basis of what you’ve said, I’d hardly recommend that certainly students should come along and have a listen because it is an unparalleled learning opportunity to hear from some of these people and at a price that is very, very, very good value.

Desi: Very accessible. Yeah.

Rob: Thank you very much. And it’s on Eventbrite. What I’ll do is I’ll sync up with you guys after. I’ll share the discount code as well, so that any of your followers can also get in on that discount from listening. And obviously we want to listen to the podcast, so maybe we put that towards the middle.

Desi: Put it right at the end. Yeah.

Si: Desi will do a voiceover, at some some…

Desi: Actually, I’ll cut it in. I’ll do a voiceover with the discount code and people will have to listen to some point in the episode to get it.

Rob: Do it every 5 or 10 minutes. So they have to…

Si: One letter every 5 minutes!

Desi: Done! In between questions, they’ll have to piece it together. It’d be cryptic as well…

Si: I was going to say, yeah, put it into a crypto challenge, and then…

Rob: There you go. That’s awesome. So yeah, I think it’ll be fun, and I appreciate the opportunity to come in and talk about a lot of the stuff I’ve got going on. We’re all busy, but making time for these opportunities to give back and to also put down some ideas. It takes time and it’s something that when it goes well and people reach out to you and let you know, “keep doing that”.

I’ve been doing short videos lately with this program called Doodly. They’re a lot of fun also because it’s just snippets of ideas in my head that within a minute or two people can get good ideas of takeaways. So, it’s just stuff that I really enjoy. Again, it’s different ways that people learn…from being an instructor with a national white collar crime center to law enforcement. So, this is just my way of keeping up with the teaching.

Si: Yeah, totally get that. Well, the only thing I think left for us now is to say, again, thank you very much for coming on. We would love to have you back again in future. You’re a wonderful guest to have on.

Rob: Thank you guys.

Si: And you’re doing exciting things, which is really cool.

Desi: And giving back to the community, which is both Si and I really appreciate and love having guests on that always take time that it’s…I know people who put on conferences and it’s a lot of unpaid, unappreciated hours to get that over the line. So it’s definitely awesome that you’re doing that and giving back to the community for something like this. So yeah, just from the community, really appreciate it, Rob, it’s awesome.

Rob: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity for you guys to feature this and to be able to explain a little bit about why this is something I’m so passionate about and really will continue to do into the future.

Si: Excellent. So for all our listeners, you can find the Forensic Focus Podcast and, having only done this morning, I can remember it in Spotify, Apple Podcasts, any other good podcast app on our own website and on YouTube. (There you go. See, I could remember it.) And the transcripts and all of the links (not including the discount code, which will be first throughout the episode when you come to listen to it and not in the transcript as well), will be available on the Forensic Focus site.

Rob: I got an idea.

Si: Go on.

Rob: Highlight certain characters from the discount code inside the transcript too. Either way, people learn, right? People follow in different ways!

Si: Zoe, are you listening? This is how it’s going to happen. Yeah, so thank you very much indeed for your time. We’ll let you get on with your incredibly busy life. And best of luck with the conference. I think at least both of us will be attending in some way, shape or form for part of the day, at least depending upon our time zone commitments! And we will feed back on Forensic Focus about the outcomes, and let the world know.

Rob: Well, thank you so much, Si and Desi. You guys have a great rest of your day as well, and we’ll catch up soon.

Si: Definitely.

Desi: Thanks, Rob.

Rob: Take care.

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