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Forensic Sci., Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2024) – 4 articles

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89 pages, 16650 KiB  
Review
Video and Audio Deepfake Datasets and Open Issues in Deepfake Technology: Being Ahead of the Curve
by Zahid Akhtar, Thanvi Lahari Pendyala and Virinchi Sai Athmakuri
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 289-377; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030021 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
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Abstract
The revolutionary breakthroughs in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are extensively being harnessed across a diverse range of domains, e.g., forensic science, healthcare, virtual assistants, cybersecurity, and robotics. On the flip side, they can also be exploited for negative purposes, like [...] Read more.
The revolutionary breakthroughs in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are extensively being harnessed across a diverse range of domains, e.g., forensic science, healthcare, virtual assistants, cybersecurity, and robotics. On the flip side, they can also be exploited for negative purposes, like producing authentic-looking fake news that propagates misinformation and diminishes public trust. Deepfakes pertain to audio or visual multimedia contents that have been artificially synthesized or digitally modified through the application of deep neural networks. Deepfakes can be employed for benign purposes (e.g., refinement of face pictures for optimal magazine cover quality) or malicious intentions (e.g., superimposing faces onto explicit image/video to harm individuals producing fake audio recordings of public figures making inflammatory statements to damage their reputation). With mobile devices and user-friendly audio and visual editing tools at hand, even non-experts can effortlessly craft intricate deepfakes and digitally altered audio and facial features. This presents challenges to contemporary computer forensic tools and human examiners, including common individuals and digital forensic investigators. There is a perpetual battle between attackers armed with deepfake generators and defenders utilizing deepfake detectors. This paper first comprehensively reviews existing image, video, and audio deepfake databases with the aim of propelling next-generation deepfake detectors for enhanced accuracy, generalization, robustness, and explainability. Then, the paper delves deeply into open challenges and potential avenues for research in the audio and video deepfake generation and mitigation field. The aspiration for this article is to complement prior studies and assist newcomers, researchers, engineers, and practitioners in gaining a deeper understanding and in the development of innovative deepfake technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human and Technical Drivers of Cybercrime)
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12 pages, 7829 KiB  
Review
Forensic Characterisation of Complex Suicides: A Literature Review
by Margherita Pallocci, Pierluigi Passalacqua, Claudia Zanovello, Luca Coppeta, Cristiana Ferrari, Filippo Milano, Santo Gratteri, Nicola Gratteri and Michele Treglia
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 277-288; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030020 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
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Abstract
Complex suicides refer to using two or more suicide modes. In the literature, complex suicides are distinguished into planned and unplanned. Using multiple methods is related to ensuring a fatal result or because the first method appears too painful, time-consuming, or ineffective. The [...] Read more.
Complex suicides refer to using two or more suicide modes. In the literature, complex suicides are distinguished into planned and unplanned. Using multiple methods is related to ensuring a fatal result or because the first method appears too painful, time-consuming, or ineffective. The review aims to provide an overview of the critical features of complex suicides in the forensic context. The review was conducted by searching online databases (PubMed Central and Scopus) up to March 2023. We identified 52 articles that met the inclusion criteria, describing 261 cases. Suicides were classified as planned in 136 cases (52.1%); 105 cases (40.2%) were defined as unplanned, while in the remaining 20 cases (7.7%), the authors did not propose any classification. In 2/261 (0.8%) cases, four modes were indicated, three modes were observed in 34/261 cases (13%), and in 224/261 (85.8%) cases the suicides were carried out using a combination of two distinct methods. The method most frequently employed in the first instance in unplanned suicides were sharp-force injuries and stabbing, followed by mechanical asphyxia (hanging, self-strangulation, plastic bag suffocation) and a fall from height. Regarding planned suicide, the most frequent suicide methods were asphyxia, intoxication (drugs, substances of abuse, or alcohol), and poisoning via toxic substances. Complex suicides represent a relatively rare entity in forensic pathology; nevertheless, they can be challenging for the forensic pathologist in terms of differential diagnosis compared to homicides, due to the sometimes multifaceted presentation. Full article
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13 pages, 860 KiB  
Article
Violence against Women within Italian and European Context: Italian “Pink Code”—Major Injuries and Forensic Expertise of a Socio-Cultural Problem
by Lina De Paola, Dalila Tripi, Gabriele Napoletano, Enrico Marinelli, Gianluca Montanari Vergallo and Simona Zaami
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 264-276; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030019 - 4 Jul 2024
Viewed by 361
Abstract
Background: Violence against women or other vulnerable individuals is a serious violation of human rights and a global public health issue representing a significant “problem of enormous global health proportions”. Violence against women is an endemic phenomenon; the numbers are very high, highlighting [...] Read more.
Background: Violence against women or other vulnerable individuals is a serious violation of human rights and a global public health issue representing a significant “problem of enormous global health proportions”. Violence against women is an endemic phenomenon; the numbers are very high, highlighting the severity and urgency of the problem. Methods: We conducted this research by examining the field of violence against women. Our analysis involved reviewing papers published between 2018 and December 2023, which were identified through electronic database searches. Out of a total of 136 papers initially identified, we considered 71 documents. Results: This research highlights the global nature of violence against women, including psychological assessments of harm, as a socio-cultural problem and underlines the more common injuries. Conclusions: We examined how the presence of forensic experts can be beneficial in identifying and evaluating injuries, as well as reconstructing the dynamics of the events, particularly for judicial purposes. Full article
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7 pages, 3720 KiB  
Case Report
Phosgene Inhalation in Fire-Related Deaths: A Case Report of Two Lovers Burnt in a Travelling Carousel
by Enrica Callegari, Enrico Mazzobel, Silvano Zancaner, Paolo Fais, Guido Viel and Giovanni Cecchetto
Forensic Sci. 2024, 4(3), 257-263; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci4030018 - 26 Jun 2024
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Abstract
Fire deaths present several diagnostic challenges for the forensic examiner, the most significant of which is the identification of the cause of death and the evaluation of the morphological consequences of heat injuries in the ante-mortem and post-mortem periods. Here, we describe the [...] Read more.
Fire deaths present several diagnostic challenges for the forensic examiner, the most significant of which is the identification of the cause of death and the evaluation of the morphological consequences of heat injuries in the ante-mortem and post-mortem periods. Here, we describe the case of two young lovers found dead inside a travelling carousel destroyed by a fire. Circumstantial evidence of disputes between families running the town fair raised the suspicion of intentional arson. Comparative analysis of crime scene investigation, radiological, autoptic, histological, and toxicological findings revealed signs of vitality (i.e., presence of soot deposits inside the respiratory and digestive tracts, heat damage to the respiratory mucosa) and identified fatal asphyxia from haemorrhagic pulmonary oedema as the cause of death. Since the experimental burning of plastic samples collected from a similar carousel demonstrated the significant production of phosgene, the death of the two lovers was attributed to the probable inhalation of this gas. The case presented here underlines the importance of a multidisciplinary approach of any fire-related death, providing an insight into circumstantial and forensic (autopsy, toxicological, and immunohistopathological) elements useful in raising suspicion of possible toxic gas inhalation. In the presence of high levels of PVC materials at the fire scene and pulmonary oedema at the autopsy, with no alternative causes of death, the forensic pathologist must suspect a fatal exposure to phosgene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations and New Aspects in Forensic Practice)
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