Sony’s recently announced A7 IV is the first digital camera to incorporate in-camera anti-forgery technology.
Using digital signatures processed at capture, Sony technology supports detection of any modification to an image, thus protecting it from fraudulent usage and copyright infringement. Curiously, Sony doesn’t nominate professional photography as one of the anti-forgery system’s applications, but rather points to it being ‘for corporate uses only’, without explaining why. (Sounds expensive!)
With Sony’s in-camera signing mode activated, images are immediately cryptographically signed by the camera processor upon capture. Following this, any pixel modification, tampering or potential forgery will cancel the image signature, as the image manipulation will be detected by the customer’s own certificate server during examination.
It’s available now on the Alpha 7 IV camera, with planned expansion to other models in the range.
Sony’s new forgery-proof signing mode ensures the secure creation and transmission of images based on cryptographic methods, as the fundamental need for certifying unmodified and secure images grows in many applications, across multiple industries.
Sony says the technology is ‘particularly applicable for passports and ID verification but goes further in tackling image manipulation in the media, medical and law enforcement fields. For the insurance and construction sectors, this technology will offer a secure foundation for inspection and recording of damage.
‘…Our in-camera digital signing is a real gamechanger for combatting image manipulation and forgery across multiple industries. Whilst appropriate adaptations for each industry need to be made, the digital signature is multilingual and can be used internationally, enabling organisations worldwide to streamline mandatory image signing with Sony technology.’
The anti-forgery technology is ‘subject to receipt of a licence to enable Sony’s signing mode’. There perhaps, lies the answer to why professional photographers are not being offered what appears to be a good solution to the constant threat of online image theft: those corporate licenses are likely to come with hefty corporate price tags. Still – it’s demonstrated that camera companies can offer failsafe security of images if they are so inclined.
Watch this space.
System process flow
1. Signing mode is activated;
2. Image is captured;
3. Images are immediately cryptographically signed by the camera processor;
4. Image is manipulated:
a. pixel modification
c. potential forgery
5. Image signature is cancelled;
6 Image manipulation is detected by the customer’s own certificate server during examination.