BetaBoston

After volunteer efforts, FBI opens Boston Marathon evidence uploading site

FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has implored the public for help gathering information, and volunteer groups have set up sites to make sending files easier. Now the FBI has an upload site of its own, but volunteers are still offering a simple way to get pictures from your computer into the hands of authorities.

During the same conference where the FBI announced information about the bombing suspects, the FBI’s newly launched site is at https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov/. Previously, the FBI had asked for the public to email in photos and videos, but users had complained that many files bounced back for being too large or otherwise undeliverable.

Additionally, email has the potential to strip out certain types of meta-data that could prove useful during an investigation.

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“If you have images, video clips, and/or details regarding these incidents, please provide or attach them below,” a note on the FBI’s new upload site read. “We appreciate your support.”

Prior to the release of this site, volunteer-createdEvidenceUpload.org had collected hundreds of images of the Boston Marathon both before and after the bombing, making it easy for users to drag and drop bulk uploads that were then forwarded on to the FBI.

The site also works well for uploading files directly from a smartphone.

“The response from the community has been tremendous. We are fortunate enough that there is a wealth of documentary evidence available,” one of the site’s creators, Sean Durkin, wrote to me in an email. “We currently have over 2.3 gigabytes of video and photo data from the immediate vicinity of the marathon finish line.”

Durkin said that his group, made up of entrepreneurs from both Boston and around the country, was working closely with both the FBI and Boston Police Department.

“Our group is entirely non-profit, and neither data nor code from this project will ever be used for commercial purposes, and will likely be licensed under open source terms,” Durkin wrote. “Our intention is to ensure that the knowledge and technology remains preserved for future events, but currently our focus remains squarely on the city of Boston.”

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