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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dartmouth professor's photo-testing technology evolves to detect authenticity of pictures

I first wrote about Hany Farid, a computer science professor at Dartmouth, back in 2003, concerning his mathematical calculations to expose manipulation of photographs. Since then he has founded a company developing software to help detect altered pictures - it's called Fourandsix, a wordplay on "forensics" - and now he's taking a slightly different tack, as newspaper-error-analyst Craig Silverman reports (here):

A new image hosting service, Izitru ("is it true") is launching to give people new ways to certify the authenticity of a digital image. It’s also a tool that journalists can use to help verify images. The Izitru website and iOS app can “distinguish an original JPEG file captured with a digital camera from subsequent derivations of that file that may have been changed in some way,” according to the company. It mixes forensic image analysis with elements of crowdsourcing and human oversight. Izitru also has an API that will enable other services to integrate its technology.

"Authenticity" is different than "not manipulated", as Silverman notes:

Tthey are geared toward “proving that a file is the original from a camera, rather than trying to prove it has been manipulated" ... It’s not about determining whether something has been Photoshopped. These automated tests help with one important element of photo verification: provenance. You want to know who took the image.