Dell launches digital forensics service for police

LONDON (Reuters) - Dell Inc, the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers, launched a package of hardware, software and services on Tuesday designed to help police convict more criminals as digital evidence proliferates.

A Dell Latitude laptop computer is seen in New York August 26, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The company said its digital-forensics package would help police reduce backlogs that can be as long as two years as it would allow multiple analysts to work simultaneously on the same data while preserving an audit trail of evidence-handling.

The package, launched with partners including Intel, gives customers tools to build and host their own datacentre, meaning they can have the convenience of so-called cloud computing while keeping control of it themselves.

James Quarles, Dell’s head of public-sector marketing in Europe, told Reuters that customers remotely accessing criminal evidence in parallel from such datacenters could gain a crucial time advantage, for example when legally constrained as to how long they could hold terrorism suspects without evidence.

Dell reorganized its operations at the end of last year to group them around customer segments, one of which was the public sector, instead of around geographical regions, and said on Tuesday this had helped its new digital-forensics push.

Josh Claman, head of Dell’s European public-sector business, said in a blog the new product “embodies everything we wanted to achieve when we decided to restructure the way Public Sector customers’ needs are addressed.” (

Dell made about $15 billion in sales to the public sector last year, including hospitals, government, education and defense -- about a quarter of its total revenue.

The company cited estimates by research firm IDC that the U.S. digital-forensics market would be worth $630 million this year, up from $252 million in 2004, while the international market would be worth $1.8 billion by 2011.

Apart from chipmaker Intel, partners in Dell’s offering include data-storage gear maker EMC Corp, business-software maker Oracle Corp, security-software maker Symantec Corp and privately held digital-forensics specialist AccessData.

Dell will present the new service to Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers on Tuesday.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Holmes and Hans Peters