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Electric Network Frequency Analysis for Forensic Audio

[Feature] Analysis of the electric network frequency (ENF) has rapidly emerged as a crucial tool in the armory of the forensic audio analyst. Traces of the ENF are often picked up on recordings, either by electromagnetic induction or acoustically, and these can be detected subsequently by analysts. It turns out that unique patterns in the frequency signature of power-line-related signals can be used to identify the time and place in which audio recordings might have been made. This is possible because some power grid companies keep records of the ENF in a database, against which forensic audio samples can be compared. Even if no such database is available, which is sometimes the case, analysis of residual traces of the ENF in a recording can be used to detect audio editing and other processes that might have been used to modify it. During the 46th International Conference, held recently in Denver, Colorado, a substantial number of the papers and posters were devoted to aspects of ENF analysis, a selection of which are summarized here.

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JAES Volume 60 Issue 10 pp. 852-855; October 2012
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