LETTER

ACA, copies are as good as originals

Digitalized Man

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I find it ridiculous that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is demanding for Anwar Ibrahim to surrender the original copy of the VK Lingam tape .

What original copy? What do they mean by that?

I doubt if such a copy exists even with Anwar, since the original owner of the copy will most likely has it in his handphone or in a smart card that was used to record the video in the first place, and he had downloaded it to a disc for public display, which has led to the show that had unfurled before us.

Or Anwar could have been given the video by phone or email. So to get the original copy, one has to get the handphone or whatever device the video was recorded on.

I hope that ACA better realises quickly that we are now living in the digital world and not analogue anymore. It is a world of fascinating wonders and 'original copies' of any video recording look the same in form and structure as the subsequent ones. One can make millions of copies of the Lingam tape and none will look any different than the other, and all will look like the original copy.

It is unlike analogue recording where each subsequent copy or transfer of the video will render a lesser quality and this is how the FBI or any organisation trained in electronic and video recording can determine if any video footage is original or not.

Even then, why bother whether the video is original or copy? What the ACA should do is to get on with the show, and deal with the issue at hand, and not the medium.

The FBI did not bother to verify if the photos of the Canadian pedophilia were genuine or fake when they first saw them in the Internet. They acted on the photos even though they were not the originals and the photographer's identity was not determined. Hence, the Canadian was nabbed in Thailand based on the photos that were posted in an anonymous website.

If the FBI had bothered to check to see if the photos were original and demanded that those who had posted them be confirmed, they would not have come to this stage where the culprit is in custody and be charged in court based on the said photos.

What the ACA should be concerned the most, if they truly want to get on with it, is to find if the 'actor' in the video is original, and not a copy (meaning, a fake Lingam). This can be done very simply by getting Lingam to admit that the person in the video is not him. If he admits that it is him, then there is no need to backtrack in the investigation on the case.

Could the ACA mean that they are looking for the original cameraman who had shot the video? Why must the focus be on him? It should be on the substance and material, not on the medium and worse, the messenger, who in this case is Anwar.

What the ACA is doing is baffling. Even the police readily accept information if it is given to them on paper that does not have any fingerprints and sent in the mail without the sender's identity. And many serious crimes had been solved using information that was given to them by individuals who wish to remain anonymous.

So why does the ACA demand that the source of the video be determined before they could act on it?

Why can't they check with the telecommunications companies for the itemised bills for Lingam's and the senior judge's numbers to see if they had made calls to each other at the stipulated time?

From itemised billings of Lingam's and the judge's and other personalities' handphones, the authorities can find out how many times they had made calls to each other and how frequent their telephone communications were.

So my message to the ACA is - welcome to the digital world.

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