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Source: CBS 5 - San Francisco,CA,USA

01/11/07 2:55 PST
Bay City News Wire


Silicon Valley high tech crime fighters are helping maintain the valley's reputation by earning an accreditation as one of the country's elite computer forensic laboratories.

The FBI announced today that the Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Menlo Park has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.

The Silicon Valley lab becomes one of only 16 in the United States and only three in the FBI's network of 14 such labs to earn the board's stamp of approval, the FBI reported.

The Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory is an FBI-sponsored partnership with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Palo Alto Police Department, San Jose Police Department, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, and the Santa Clara district attorney's office.

The lab processes computers, cellular telephones, personal data assistants, music players, and most other devices that store digital information, examining digital evidence in support of counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, and criminal investigations, the FBI reported. The lab has examined nearly 50 terabytes of data since it opened in January 2005.

Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory work has contributed to high-profile local, state, and federal investigations including that of the disappearance of Oakland resident Nina Reiser, the investigation of E. coli in spinach, the BALCO steroids probe, and the San Jose Police Department investigation of recently convicted serial pedophile Dean Schwartzmiller.

"The RCFL has been of significant assistance to law enforcement in the area,'' Palo Alto police Chief Lynne Johnson said. "The training to personnel and the investigative expertise in the area of computer, white-collar and other types of crimes has been invaluable. The interagency, cross-jurisdictional efforts that are reflective in the RCFL provides a model to be duplicated in other areas of law enforcement.''

The lab is staffed by 10 FBI-trained forensic examiners.

"Obtaining ASCLD/LAB accreditation is a standard few other digital forensic laboratories attain,'' laboratory Director Chris Beeson of the San Francisco FBI said. "Our personnel embrace quality as a key service, and attaining accreditation just shy of our second anniversary is an outstanding accomplishment.''

[Original Article on the CBS 5 - San Francisco,CA,USA web site ]