As technology has enabled mainstream, widespread image manipulation, it is not surprising that there has been a huge increase in the number of tampered images which find their way into a wide spectrum of industries and sectors. Incidents of doctored images frequently appear in mainstream media where they incite cries of “fake news”.
For example, a photo at the G20 summit this year featured a photoshopped president Putin, giving the impression that he was colluding with president Donald Trump. The photo proceeded to spread like wildfire across the internet, instigating huge political ramifications from a digital fabrication which would have taken a few minutes to create on a laptop. Last August also showed our vulnerability to tampered photos, with the circulation of a photoshopped image of a shark swimming up the freeway during hurricane Harvey indicating a larger problem with major international news outlets spreading the image as genuine.
Equally there is significant evidence of doctored images being used to support fraudulent scientific research internationally. Doctored experiment results and images continue to rock the research industry with every new fraudulent revelation. A prominent cancer research scientist in Italy has been under investigation for using a photography studio to manipulate images pivotal to the crux of the “ground breaking” research. Indeed, the journal Nature has suggested that up to 1 in 5 scientific papers contain evidence of some sort of manipulation.
It is clear therefore, that when the stakes are high enough, people will manipulate the truth, and unfortunately given our tendency to trust photographic images, it seems that it is currently worth their while to do so. When the stakes are as high as imprisonment, it is easy to see how tempting it may be to manipulate an image to support an alibi or a particular version of events.
Unfortunately, security investigations are by no means immune to this phenomenon either. In fact, given the increase in the sources of digital images, the integrity of evidence in such investigations is at its all-time most vulnerable. Body worn cameras, smart phones and increasingly sophisticated CCTV surveillance means that investigators are now dealing with a fast-growing pile of unverified evidence.
Read the full article published in The Intersec Journal of International Security.
This article, published in Evidence Technology Magazine, takes a look at two cases involving the authentication of digital images and the importance of the questions asked of the analyst during those investigations. It looks at how authentication software, such as Amped Authenticate has been designed with a structured workflow, to locate the puzzle pieces required to assist in answering those questions.
Read the full article here.
With the rise of the digital age can experts trust that photographic evidence is legitimate?
Sophie Garrod, from Police Oracle, writes about how a growing number of forensic and counter-terrorism units are getting on board with pioneering image authentication software.
Approximately a third of UK forces have invested in Amped Software products – including Amped Authenticate, an all in one computer programme which can detect doctored images.
Forensic image departments, counter-terrorism units, and government departments say they are saving time and money by sending detectives on a short training course in the software.
Read the full article here to learn more.
Acquiring evidence from a digital camera or a smartphone is more or less relatively easy to do. Images are usually in standard JPEG format and videos in MP4 or some other format that most players can read. But what is the best way to retrieve and handle CCTV footage to ensure it stands up to the scrutiny in the courtroom? There are numerous possibilities and it depends on where the video is actually recorded.
To learn more, read the article by Martino Jerian, Amped CEO and Founder, published in Lawyer Monthly.
Martino Jerian, Amped CEO and Founder, examines context, content, and format of images. From the images and the context in which they are used we can obtain a lot of information that is not visible with the naked eye, and for what is visible with the naked eye, can we trust it? The process of authenticating an image is a mix of technical and investigative elements. This article looks at how to perform a complete image analysis.
Read the article published in the Digital Forensics magazine.
How many cases have you worked on lately that involved video footage or a photo as evidence? Are you really sure everything possible has been done regarding the proper use of those images for investigations and if they have been exploited to their full potential? Are you really sure that images and videos have been properly validated and are not the result of some tampering? Was the image of sufficient quality to prove or disprove some testimony? Has the image and video been analyzed by an expert with the proper tools?
These, and many more, are the question we will try to answer in our monthly column in the Lawyer Monthly magazine.
There’s a lot to know and to discuss, and in this brief overview we don’t expect you to become an expert, but at least we hope to point you in the right direction for further study.
Read the first issue: The Importance of Using Images as Evidence
As a predominantly visual species, we tend to believe what we see. Throughout human evolution, our primary sense of sight has allowed us to analyse primeval threats. We are genetically hardwired to process and trust what our eyes tell us.
This innate hardwiring means that the arrival of digital images has posed a problem for the fraud investigation community. There are many different reasons why someone would want to
maliciously alter a photo to ‘tell a different story’. Although photos can be manipulated with ease, many people still harbour a natural tendency to trust photos as a true and accurate representation of the scene in front of us.
The article published in Computer Fraud & Security describes how images may be altered and the techniques and processes we can use to spot photos that have been modified. With the right tools and training, exposing doctored images in fraud investigations is now not only financially and technically viable, but urgently necessary.
Read the full article here
Some time ago, two images featured prominently in the initial reporting of Hurricane Harvey. The first was of a shark swimming along the Houston freeway. The second showed several airplanes virtually underwater at what was claimed to be Houston airport. These iconic images were circulated widely on Twitter and were featured on mainstream national media such as Fox News. There was just one small problem. Neither of them were real!
This situation prompts an important question. If this behaviour is widespread on social and traditional media then how do we know it isn’t also affecting police and court investigations? After all, if members of the public are prepared to manipulate images for the sake of a few likes and retweets, what will they be prepared to resort to when the stakes are much higher?
Read the full article published on Police Life.
If you present an object, an image, or a story to a courtroom, you must be able to trust that it is accurate.
How then, do you trust an image – a digital photograph, a snapshot in time of an object, a person or a scene? Do you trust what the photographer says? Or do you check it? Do you attempt to identify any signs of manipulation that could cast doubt on the weight of the evidence?
How many members of the public are aware of the Digital Imaging Procedure? What about the guidance surrounding computer based information, which includes digital images and video? What about the person that is receiving that file? Perhaps the investigating officer. Are they aware of the importance of image authentication?
Is the Criminal Justice System naive to believe that fake images do not end up being displayed in court and presented as truth? Even if it is a rarity now, we need to think of the future. To start with, we must ask ourselves, “Can we rely on the image we see before us? Has it been authenticated?”
Read the article published by The Barrister magazine to learn about the importance of authenticating images before submitting them as evidence.
David Spreadborough, international trainer at Amped Software, and a regular expert witness in criminal investigations, charts the technical history of bringing CCTV images to court and provides an insight into the challenges associated with preparing surveillance images as evidence.
Read the article published on IFSEC Global