Canon & Reuters team up in developing cryptographic methods to authenticate photographs

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TOKYO, August 31, 2023—Thomson Reuters, a global content and technology company, Canon Inc., and Canon Europe Ltd., a world-leading provider of imaging and information technology solutions, and Starling Lab, an academic research lab based at Stanford and USC innovating with the latest cryptographic methods and decentralized web protocols, announced today the completion of a pilot

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mxwphoto

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Make it the old way: analog Leica M with Kodak Tri-X
Issue is even if it originated as a film negative, distribution of content is now done digitally so much manipulation could be done in the process of getting it ready for mass viewing that trustworthiness of the scene can easily be questioned.

Moreover, film days you can mask and collage on an enlarger anyway (analog photoshop), just that it was much harder and time consuming so it wasn't much of a problem.

I do like the idea of blockchain authentication of every step of process. It would be even better if we can use it to trace back and see the original captured source image prior to edits, which in turn may have news organizations streamline their image workflow and just show the base capture, perhaps with some crops and call it a day.

The worry is though that the number of images captured nowadays are staggeringly high and handling the data volume may be an issue.
 
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andrewmckay

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I'd love to see more detail as to how they will accomplish this.

It's one thing to embed a chip to capture that information and sign it with a trusted cert chain. (Perhaps using the Helium network to publish the hash in advance of the release of the image itself and to provide verification of date/time/location of capture as well?)
But it's an entirely different problem to have that then follow the image as it's edited from RAW, compressed, shared, etc.

The level of trust required that the camera's firmware wasn't modified or fed a fake image...
I'm certain they are thinking about all of this and more.

The end goal of non-repudiation for photos is incredibly challenging in today's world.

Great article and an awesome direction to see movement towards - it's only scratching the surface though and the techie in me wants to see more details.
 
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David - Sydney

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Blockchain is a solution waiting for a problem to solve but I like this idea. Establishing trust will be an ongoing issue with ai .
Politicians are already one of the least trustworthy professions (ipsos veracity index) so elections will be a prime target for malicious ai. I predict the rate of votering (in countries where it is optional) will decrease further. It will be interesting to see what happens where voting is compulsory
 
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Pixel

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Not a bad idea but how long will it take until of the Reuters photographers and all of their stringer staff will have compliant cameras? I seriously doubt they will incorporate this technology into older cameras. And since Getty has a Canon partnership I'm sure they'll eventually be announced as included in this too and then I wonder if I'll have a mandatory gear upgrade I'll have to make? Yikes.
 
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Make it the old way: analog Leica M with Kodak Tri-X
Yeah, with analog people could copy your prints but you still had the negative as proof.
RAW image files were intended to be used that way.
I guess we still could do that if we wanted to.
They can easily be copied so we would just need to secure them somewhere.
The other thing that we could do is keep the CR3 files and share DNG files when clients request RAW files.
 
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Blockchain is a solution waiting for a problem to solve but I like this idea.
Blockchain has been around for decades.
Programmers use it all of the time.
It just got into the public eye with NFT.
NFT is also useful but trading NFTs or images without any actual ownership of the images was just plain silly.
AI has been around for decades as well.
GPT is pretty new and now AI is the new thing.
 
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David - Sydney

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NFT is also useful but trading NFTs or images without any actual ownership of the images was just plain silly.
You could say the same thing about cryptocurrency… or more generally the definition of currency as not having any intrinsic commodity value
AI has been around for decades as well.
GPT is pretty new and now AI is the new thing.
A bit like ‘cloud computing’ being ‘new’
 
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LDS

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Blockchains makes sense as a distributed ledger where each party doesn't trust the other too much. Note the words "distributed" and "trust". That's why it was developed to make Bitcoin work. Outside of "DeFi" - cryptocurrencies - they were never found really useful. Whenever the blockchain approach has been used in a centralized system, it was soon clear that there are faster and cheaper approaches to obtain the same. After all, banks have been transferring money for centuries without.

Now, if Reuters and Canon can get AP, Magnum, Sony, Nikon, NYT, Le Figaro, CNN, BBC etc. on the same boat, and build a blockchain where any change to an image is recorded into a distributed system not controlled by a single entity, a blockchain could make sense. A blockchain run by Reuters itself only doesn't make any sense. Anyway, one of the problems of a real distributed blockhain is the time it requires to approve a transaction. So, it is feasible probably to record everytime an image is "published" to the blockchain. Blockchains also don't play well with large data, so storing whole RAW/TIFF images into a blockchain won't work very well. C2PA is designed to store a thumbnail of the images inside is data - it is enough to identify all image changes properly?
 
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Yeah, with analog people could copy your prints but you still had the negative as proof.
RAW image files were intended to be used that way.
I guess we still could do that if we wanted to.
They can easily be copied so we would just need to secure them somewhere.
The other thing that we could do is keep the CR3 files and share DNG files when clients request RAW files.
You can make a negative of a fake and/or edited picture though. And same goes for RAW files that can be created in reverse. Takes more work and knowledge, but it can be done. So neither a negative or a RAW file can be completely trusted.
 
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The goal of this is to make sure that only "authorized" people will be able to take photographs of newsworthy events. If you as an unauthorized person takes a photo of Joe Biden for example, the camera will prevent you from taking the photograph. Only the people vetted to be loyal to the regime will be able to take photographs.
 
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YuengLinger

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The goal of this is to make sure that only "authorized" people will be able to take photographs of newsworthy events. If you as an unauthorized person takes a photo of Joe Biden for example, the camera will prevent you from taking the photograph. Only the people vetted to be loyal to the regime will be able to take photographs.
Could we use this technology to prevent cameras from taking ducky-face selfies?
 
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