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Associated Press Approves Sony’s In-Camera Anti-Fake Tech

A new technology inside Sony’s latest cameras for detecting image manipulation has been tested and passed for approval by the Associated Press.

The new In-Camera Signature Solution technology attaches a digital certificate to photos taken with a Sony camera right at the point of capture certifying that they’re real.

Sony has now announced a second round of testing for the technology in cooperation with the Associated Press organization.

According to the company, the new in-camera digital signature technology in effect gives photos taken with one of the manufacturer’s cameras a sort of birth certificate that attests to their legitimacy and origin.

With Sony’s authenticity technology, the company has created a machine-based digital signature system that supposedly removes the opportunity for undetected manipulation of photos right from their creation.

This signature is generated right inside a camera right at the moment of capture through the device’s hardware chipset.

From there, an unbreakable digital chain gets created that presumably proves a photo’s authenticity from its point of creation to when it’s submitted to a news outlet that can verify whether the photo is real.

The main aim, at least for now, is to let professional photographers have a means of safeguarding the authenticity of their content against future plagiarism and accusations of manipulation or falsification.

The AP has been outfitting its photographers exclusively with Sony cameras and gear since 2020 and creates a majority of the world’s daily news (with photos).

In other words, it has many reasons to take photographic authenticity seriously through solutions that really work on a practical level.

Obviously, the technology is also aimed at fortifying the security of real photos taken with real cameras in an era of growing and increasingly refined AI image-rendering fakery, which is steadily becoming less detectable to casual observers.

As Neal Manowitz, President and COO of Sony Electronics explains,

“While the rapid evolution of generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) brings new possibilities for creative expression, it has also led to growing concern about the impact of altered or manipulated imagery in journalism,”

He further elaborated in a recent press release,

“The dissemination of false information and images has real world social impact that brings harm not only to our photojournalist and news agency partners, but to society as a whole.

We care deeply about this challenge and are committed to using our resources to help solve it.

Through Sony’s work on the steering committee for C2PA (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity), we have helped set the current industry standard for the tracking of editing and manipulation of imagery.

Additionally, our in-camera authenticity technology has shown valuable results, and we will continue to push its development towards a wider release.”

David Ake, AP Director of Photography also chimes in to make the obvious argument that fake or manipulated images are a major concern for press organizations.

According to Ake, his organization and others worry about the dangers of spreading disinformation through fakery.

“Fake and manipulated images are a major concern for news organizations. Not only do they contribute to mis- and disinformation but ultimately, they erode the public’s trust in factual, accurate imagery,”

With these considerations in mind, he states that the AP is happy to be working with Sony on a workable and practical authentication solution.

Sony and the AP finished off their most recent field testing very recently in October of this year.

The process, which lasted roughly a month, involved testing both capture authentication and workflow process evaluation.

Sony also partnered with the company Camera Bits, maker of the industry-standard workflow tool Photo Mechanic, to conduct these field tests.

Working with Sony and AP, Camera Bits created a technology through Photo Mechanic that preserves the authenticity signature of a photo even after metadata editing.

Dennis Walker, founder of Camera Bits explains,

“Photo Mechanic has been used by the photojournalism industry for 25 years and continues to evolve as the industry introduces new technology. We are committed to ensuring Photo Mechanic remains a trusted and authentic workflow solution.”

The first cameras from Sony to feature in-camera signature and C2PA authentication via firmware update will be the recently-introduced Sony Alpha 9 III, Sony’s Alpha 1 and the Alpha 7S III.

This update will go live as of Spring 2024. One apparent advantage of the new Sony technology is that it doesn’t require a specially installed hardware solution, as is the case with Leica’s M11-P camera.

This rival technology from the premium camera maker depends on physical hardware instead of a software solution.

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