In 2012, Danish police officers arrested a sex offender and found child pornography in his computer. But catching the guy looking at the pictures is only half the battle in situations like this – they needed to find the asshole who took the photos. No doubt fighting every instinct to just set the hard drive on fire and drink the memory away, the officers examined the images and found a detail that could help catch one of the photographers: a pill bottle with a tiny, blurry name.
The Danish shared this evidence with Homeland Security’s Cyber Crimes Center, where special agents used classified technology to undo the blur on the bottle – to the point that they were able to pull off part of a surname, the name of the medication, and the first two characters of a prescription number. Detectives then used that information to find the owner of the bottle, a human-shaped mound of shit called Stephen Keating.
However, this didn’t necessarily prove Keating did anything. Maybe he lent the bottle to a friend, or the real child pornographer had stolen the pills from Keating as part of his mission to just commit every possible type of crime. Luckily, the feds had another impossibly high-tech trick up their sleeves.
One of the photos showed a man’s hand, and by putting it through special filters, they managed to get a fingerprint impression. We’ll repeat that part: they got his fingerprints off of a digital photograph. If you saw that on CSI, you’d call bullshit and switch to a more realistic crime-fighting show, like The Flash.