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Digital Photos Give Away a Camera's Make and Model

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the nobody-saw-me-you-can't-prove-anything dept.

Privacy 260

holy_calamity writes "Engineers at Polytechnic University Brooklyn have discovered that digital snaps shorn of any metadata still reveal the make and model of camera used to take them. It is possible to work backwards from the relationships of neighboring pixel values in a shot to identify the model-specific demosaicing algorithm that combines red, green, and blue pixels on the sensor into color image pixels. Forensics teams are already licking their chops."

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260 comments

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Yum! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796693)

Forensics teams are already licking their chops.

Can I get that with some BBQ sauce?

Oh my! (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796917)

I better sell my Nikon D300. They'll be able to trace it back to me. Or one of the other gazillion people who also bought one. Hmm... on second thought...

Re:Oh my! (2, Funny)

daybot (911557) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797323)

I better sell my Nikon D300.

Showoff!

Re:Oh my! (3, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797379)

No. Talking about my glass is showing off. :)

fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796699)

fp

stretch? (5, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796713)

As even the cellphones are producing 3 megapixel images now, very few people need to be passing full-resolution originals around. If you scale the image down to a screen-usable 1 megapixel image, there's not going to be a lot of bayer mosaicking information still available.

Re:stretch? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796893)

I love film, fuck yeah!

Re:stretch? (5, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796987)

Maybe so, but you still have the full size images on the camera. If someone were to get a hold of that they would be able to tell what camera took the images after a few weeks of intensive forensic study.

Re:stretch? (1, Funny)

shird (566377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797037)

Maybe so, but you still have the full size images on the camera. If someone were to get a hold of that they would be able to tell what camera took the images after a few weeks of intensive forensic study.

Troll? If they get a hold of the camera with the photos on it, they would already know what camera took the photos. Plus they would have all the meta data in the photos themselves. This technique is only useful when said exif meta-data is removed. Usually some post-processing is also performed at the same time if someone goes to the effort to remove this data.

Re:stretch? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797073)

Joke------>
          You

Re:stretch? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797111)

I got trolled :( Nonetheless, you could argue that the originals would still be stored somewhere prior to post-processing. And if they got a hold of that as opposed to the camera itself this technique may still be useful. But in such a case, the meta-data would typically still be in-tact as well. And the place in which it is stored would be a fair indicator of the camera used.

Re:stretch? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797175)

That whooshing sound you hear is the joke flying over your head.

Re:stretch? (0)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797063)

Ummm, what?? If they get a hold of the original camera, they will be able to determine which camera took the pictures stored on the original camera? After a few weeks of study?

That's some mighty fine police work, Lou.

Re:stretch? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797097)

Yikes.

Re:stretch? (1)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797155)

It's called "mock surprise" mixed with a bit of sarcasm. Sorry it went over your head.

In your defense, it was a half-assed attempt on my part.

Re:stretch? (1)

AngryLlama (611814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797105)

Congratulations on reemphasizing the obviousness of that joke.

Re:stretch? (1, Redundant)

arashi no garou (699761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797131)

Congratulations on re-reemphasizing the obviousness of my redundancy. Or something.

I'm going back to bed. Carry on.

Re:stretch? (5, Insightful)

trum4n (982031) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797093)

Feed your RAW images to photoshop, then hit NTSC color mode, then compress to jpeg. All their secret information is gone forever. Only idiots would let this work. and oh yea, those idiots didn't delete the Meta-Data anyway, cause they dont even know what it is.

Re:stretch? (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797637)

or you could just use a camera with a Foveon X3 sensor [wikipedia.org] . there's no demosaicing involved since it employs 3 vertically stacked photodiodes (red, green, blue) at each pixel sensor to capture color information.

here [wikipedia.org] is a diagram showing how a multijunction photosensor works. unlike bayer filter sensors, Foveon X3 sensors produce no color artifacts.

What about multiple cameras using the same sensor? (4, Interesting)

Chirs (87576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796715)

Quite often there are different manufacturers using the same sensor. Since this locks in the physical aspects of the sensor layout, I would expect the demosaicing algorithm to be basically identical across all these bodies.

Re:What about multiple cameras using the same sens (5, Interesting)

fugu (99277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796771)

After the sensor takes the RAW data, the camera processes the image (some noise reduction, curves, and compression) to get a jpg. Since this conversion would vary between manufacturers (or even RAW software) I'd imagine that the process would leave behind similar "fingerprints."

Re:What about multiple cameras using the same sens (3, Funny)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796909)

You insensitive clod! I shoot my digitals in the raw!

Re:What about multiple cameras using the same sens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797209)

I shoot mine in the nude!

Re:What about multiple cameras using the same sens (3, Funny)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797237)

Ahh... That must of been you I saw at the park!

Good Gawd man, the poor lady didn't know what to think, haveing a bald, fat, nude man run up and take her holiday snap like that!

You left so sudden, she didn't get your number. For the picture, I believe.

Cherios....

What about standard designs? (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797371)

People like Ericsson Mobile Platforms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ericsson_Mobile_Platforms) provide the same design to multiple handset vendors. As the industry progresses we can expect to see growing commonality.

This should end well. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796717)

Boy, I'm glad I vested in that giant rock-vault for my cameras and firearms.

Even after image manipulation? (4, Interesting)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796725)

I wonder if this method still holds up after noise removal, or even something as simple as an image size reduction. Anyone more knowledgeable on the subject care to speak up?

Re:Even after image manipulation? (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796729)

I doubt it. I do a LOT of image processing, and I have to say that after color correction, noise removal, etc., I very much doubt that this technique would hold up.

But... (0, Redundant)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797161)

If they got your camera, after you post processed, they still will be able to tell you what camera you have (or used to have).

Re:Even after image manipulation? (1)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797555)

just run the photo through" greycstoration "

greycstoration -restore ???.jpg -nu 3 -dt 30 -iter 3 -std 2 -o ??.png
convert ???.png ???.jpg

Raw images? (5, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796727)

So, if I shoot in raw mode, and then postprocess in software to get a jpeg, the demosaicing signature should merely identify the software, right?

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the distortion uniquely identifies the lens used...

Re:Raw images? (0)

leenks (906881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796793)

In a word, no.

Re:Raw images? (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796907)

And the jpeg encoder will be identifiable as well. (Can't think of the name of the software right now...)

Re:Raw images? (2, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797019)

Problem is, you don't need to buy a JPEG codec, so there isn't necessarily anything to trace back to you.

I mean, what if the JPEG codec is determined to be the one included with MS Paint? How does it help to know that the person you're looking for used a copy of Windows XP or Vista?

Re:Raw images? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797253)

I don't really see that as an issue. This seems like more of a "additional confirmation" tool that you'd use in the courtroom, rather than as a primary tool that you'd use to discover the identity of a person of interest.

Re:Raw images? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796973)

One could also potentially design an algorithm that subtly obfuscates the subpixel values in such a way that it defeats the technique while minimizing the apparent visual changes to the image.

In fact, since JPEG already downsamples the chroma channel, I'd imagine that merely applying JPEG compression would already defeat any attempts to do this...

Then again, this may all be moot; cameras produce images at increasingly insanely high megapixel counts. what people actually need is often far lower. So as others have pointed out, simply resizing the image (such as to prepare it for web display) may be sufficient.

Re:Raw images? (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797357)

As long as all the operations are carried out in scale you could likely determine the original 'finger print' since they would likely correspond. This could differ depending on the amount of alteration as well as distribution of the finger print across the pixels. Reducing the image to gray scale then using a separate function to interpret the color from there may be enough in some cases but YMMV.

Re:Raw images? (4, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797235)

...Of course, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the distortion uniquely identifies the lens used...

Nah, not likely. Unless you knew exactly what the scene was supposed to look like, from that exact angle and everything (and even then it would likely be impossible), you just can't know what is a distortion from the lens and what is part of the scene. Unless, like, the scene happened to be a highly accurate checkerboard pattern. Then you can look and see what lines aren't quite straight and get some distortion information, but that would be tough.

I know software can correct for lens distortion if it has a distortion profile for a certain lens (which is probably made by shooting a checkerboard type pattern...), but knowing to move every pixel to the left one is a lot easier than knowing if every pixel was moved to the left one by the lens, if that makes any sense.

Put another way, it's easy to put soda in your mouth and have yellow stuff come out of your underbits, but very difficult to do the reverse.
-Taylor

Re:Raw images? (4, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797713)

You really don't need anything so clean and nice as a full-scene checkerboard, to calculate a lot of lens details. Two or three moderate-length manmade straight lines that are at different angles should be enough. Like two edges of a table, a tall building, etc. That should be enough to give you the general curvature coefficients, which in turn would be pretty close to giving the right field of view. I don't think you'd be able to tell Sigma from Canon from Nikkor from Leica from Tokina from Zeiss glass.

So What? (4, Insightful)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796741)

So what if they can identify the make and model of camera. I own a D70. There are 300 billion d70 out there. Good luck on tracking a picture to my camera.

Re:So What? (5, Funny)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796849)

They don't have to. All they have to do is say they used forensics just like on CSI, and it shows it was taken by the same kind of camera you own. Sure, you can say there are a lot of them out there so it proves nothing. But you know who else says that? The bad guys on CSI, and their smug, latte drinking lawyers. Always demanding warrants and to be released if they aren't being charged with anything! EVIL

Re:So What? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797007)

In other words, let 'em use what they want as long as the source is provided for the defense.

Re:So What? (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797021)

You say this like it's bad news for the bad guys. When really all this means is it's easier for them to pin your crimes on the closest scapegoat.

Re:So What? (1, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797071)

And you know that 1x1 pixel is all the evidence we need. You see, that pixel represents a single atom, which has bands of electrons, each with distinct spins, each of those with unique quantum signatures all the way up to other dimensions in other universes, all tied together with string theory back to the original untouched photograph.

You may sign the confession now or we will get a court order to further examine the evidence...

Re:So What? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797369)

And you know that 1x1 pixel is all the evidence we need.

"Chief! We only got a 1x1 pixel area of the jpeg of the criminal!" "Okay take it downstairs to Abby and McGeek to check it out".

[Wiggly Lines]

"Yeah Chiefy it was pretty easy. We zoomed in on the 1x1 pixel image and we got this picture of the criminal which was inside there. And we got the model of camera he used too, an Motorola RAZR Smartphone." "Yeah Chief, there's only been ninety jillion RAZR phones made, so we hashed the 1x1 pixel image and got the phone's SIM number out of it. It's him all right. Science never fails. We get the criminal every time, just like in real life." "Good work Abbs, have a cookie. And McGeek, get a haircut, you look like a hippy." "Thanks Chief". [Exeunt all, Abby munching cookie]

Re:So What? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797229)

The bad guys on CSI, and their smug, latte drinking lawyers. Always demanding warrants and to be released if they aren't being charged with anything! EVIL

The only EVIL on CSI shows is the way the motherfucking cops use extortion.

"You don't want to give up privileged information on this guy? Fine, we'll be back with a warrant. Of course, we may have to dismantle your office for a couple of weeks to do a thorough search. What does a couple of weeks mean to your business? You do understand, don't you, that when we seize (God, how those bastards love the word "seize") your computer, our clumsy techs might return it with some important files no longer readable? So sorry. ... Oh, yes, ma'am, that's the perp we were inquiring about. Thank you for your cooperation."

Re:So What? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797041)

> Good luck on tracking a picture to my camera.

That's not the purpose. Knowing the photo was taken with a D70 eliminates all the zillions of cameras out there that aren't D70s. It's like knowing that a bank robber is a 6' tall blue-eyed blond male.

Re:So What? (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797187)

"It's like knowing that a bank robber is a 6' tall blue-eyed blond male."

A bank robber with THAT description really would stand out.

Hardly any of them look like that from what I see on TV.

Re:So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797315)

6' tall blue-eyed blond male.

Are you stalking me?

Re:So What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797355)

what if that 6ft blue eyed guy is in iceland, sweden or norway?

Re:So What? (5, Interesting)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797061)

So what if they can identify the make and model of camera. I own a D70. There are 300 billion d70 out there. Good luck on tracking a picture to my camera.

RTFA:

While many people own the same camera models, Pollitt believes that this technique can still be used forensically. He says that because digital cameras have a shelf life of only 18 months, this can help to narrow down when and where it was sold. Just because it won't immediately narrow it down to a single suspect with perfect accuracy doesn't mean it won't be helpful in investigations.

Re:So What? (4, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797113)

Forensically, it's as useful as saying "this bullet came out of this model pistol." Not conclusive by itself, but one piece of a larger puzzle.

99% of criminal investigation is eliminating who didn't do it, and this can be useful for that.

Re:So What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797313)

99% of criminal investigation is eliminating who didn't do it

Unfortunately 99% of prosecution is sweeping those bits under the rug so the prosecutor can pretend to be tough on crime and leech ever more from society at higher and higher positions.

Re:So What? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797615)

Looks like somebody tried contesting a speeding ticket and failed. ;)

Re:So What? (2, Insightful)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797079)

So what if they can identify the make and model of camera. I own a D70. There are 300 billion d70 out there. Good luck on tracking a picture to my camera.

RTFA:

While many people own the same camera models, Pollitt believes that this technique can still be used forensically. He says that because digital cameras have a shelf life of only 18 months, this can help to narrow down when and where it was sold.

Just because it won't immediately narrow it down to a single suspect with perfect accuracy doesn't mean it won't be helpful in investigations.

Re:So What? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797191)

I hope the "there are 300 billion of them out there" defence works better for you than it did for certain owners of cheap, common watches [wikipedia.org] .

Re:So What? (1)

rubah (1197475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797743)

so that's where all the names on the No Fly List came from . . .

Re:So What? (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797279)

I suspect this would be more useful as a way to exclude cameras that wouldn't have likely taken the photograph. If you have 100 suspects, and can mostly exclude 95 of them on this basis, that's useful.

Re:So What? (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797283)

So what if they can identify the make and model of camera. I own a D70. There are 300 billion d70 out there. Good luck on tracking a picture to my camera.

Its useful the same way knowing the car that raced away from the scene of the crime used a particular tire, with a particular wheelbase. Or that a bullet was fired from a particular make of gun.

Neither will positively identify anyone, but if you were already a 'person of interest' in a long list of people peripherally related to a case that detail might put you on a MUCH shorter list if it comes up that you have that model. Plus its useful when they are asking a judge for a warrant. Judges really like specificity with warrants... A "We want to search his home and car for a Canon Powershot X"; he blogged here about buying a Canon Powershot X, he was caught on this surveillance tape leaving the scene carrying an indistinct object, the dimensions and shape of which are consistent with a Powershot X, and we know the photos in question were taken with a Canon Powershot X"... that's got a lot more weight than... "We want to search this guy for a digital camera, because a witness said he owns a camera, and he was caught on tape holding an indistinct smallish object which could be a camera, oh... and the photos we're interested were taken with a camera."

A reasonable person would view the second as a complete fishing expedition, based on no evidence, practically everyone has a camera and he could have been holding anything on that tape. The first request is specific - the photos of interest were taken with that model, and there is reason to beleive the person HAS that particular model, and that he had it with him on the that tape. Sure it could be a coincidence, but a warrant for that particular camera if he has one to check it out, might not be unreasonable.

Its also not unlikely that they can pair photos to a particular camera if they have both on hand due to micro-scrathes and other unique lens defects... the same way they can pair laser pritners to printed output.

Re:So What? (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797411)

i have a d70 too!

and i bought mine used, so even if they are able to trace it back to my exact camera, that doesn't prove that I was the one who shot the image.

how would this technology deal with used goods and re-sellers?

Killjoy (3, Interesting)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796759)

Well, that kind of takes the fun out of this kind of story [luminous-landscape.com] in which images from a Canon point-n-shoot are indistinguishable from those taken by a $40,000 Hasselblad.

Re:Killjoy (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796951)

That isn't the conclusion that the author came to. If you compare http://www.luminous-landscape.com/images-85/h2.jpg [luminous-landscape.com] and http://www.luminous-landscape.com/images-85/g10-comp.jpg [luminous-landscape.com] there is definitely a different between the yellows and the depth of focus on the expensive camera is far better (compare the red leaves on the upper left).

Re:Killjoy (3, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797129)

That isn't the conclusion that the author came to. If you compare http://www.luminous-landscape.com/images-85/h2.jpg [luminous-landscape.com] and http://www.luminous-landscape.com/images-85/g10-comp.jpg [luminous-landscape.com] there is definitely a different between the yellows and the depth of focus on the expensive camera is far better (compare the red leaves on the upper left).

Depth of field isn't a question of better or worse, you know, it's just different. If you want to poke at that story, you might just point out that a the limited image size makes the comparison pointless. These days, cheap digital cameras make incredibly expensive pro cameras more useful for either flexibility or niche markets (like >13" prints). That doesn't mean professional cameras aren't worth it, just that they're not worth it for everything.

Re:Killjoy (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797181)

I don't disagree, the point that I was trying to get at was that the OP's conclusion didn't jive with the site. I've never owned an SLR and I'm pretty sure the majority of the photo quality problems I've had are the fault of the person holding the camera.

Re:Killjoy (4, Informative)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797405)

My wife and I have two point and shoot cameras, a Nikon and an Olympus. We also have a Pentax dSLR.

Looking at the images at 100% scale and you can see a tremendous difference in the amount of noise in the backgrounds. That is mostly caused by the smaller size of the CCDs and the quality of the sensor itself. Plus, the higher end cameras have far better noise reduction software built in.

Depth of field is EVERYTHING to taking pictures. By using a long lens and a large aperture, bars around zoo cages disappear, the annoying crowd behind the bride also disappears, or that person just standing behind your subject gets just the faintest blur so your eye is drawn to the subject. Or use a small aperture and everything is brought into crisp focus.

Then there is being able to use higher quality optics. I recently used the Pentax camera to take some campfire scenes using a 50mm(film) lens set at 1.4f. I was able to take clear, handheld images around the campfire. Try that with a point and shoot.

I'm not knock the PS cameras. I use them when I'm riding my motorcycle to get action shots of those I ride with. That would be impossible with a dSLR or SLR camera, they are just too big and bulky.

But if someone wants to take high quality snapshots to share, nothing beats a dSLR. Pricey, yes. But well worth it for the serious photographer, be they professional or hobbyist.

Re:Killjoy (1)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797403)

You missed the point. He said that every sensor is different, so each needs to be adjusted as desired. Claiming one is "better" because of the yellows is a) not what he said and b) irrelevant to the discussion.

As for the depth of field, again you get it wrong. Depth of field is adjustable - one camera or image isn't better or worse if shot with a particular depth of field. What he said was that the Blad pictures were shot with a narrower depth of field and that his experts were able to discern which were which by looking at the depth of field of the image.

90% accuracy...and filters (2, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796803)

You can do all sorts of stuff to an image that would shot holes in this technique. Resize (shrink, or grow and reinterpolate), apply a filter (curves, b&w or sepia would be easiest but there are others). Hell put it through an artistic filter. Still at 90% accuracy, in most cases, I wouldn't even bother!

Re:90% accuracy...and filters (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797031)

I add comments to all by pictures. This makes it more difficult as well. But I'll admit it's annoying to have "Happy Birthday!!!" on each and every photo.

Really... (2, Funny)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796807)

All the more reason to use film.

Re:Really... (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796873)

Film can be identified down to the batch, MUCH more unique than a highly quality controlled part like a CMOS sensor.

Meta data? (3, Funny)

Ian Lamont (1116549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796813)

Is the make and model data already included in jpeg's file header? See here [googlepages.com]

Re:Meta data? (1, Informative)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796835)

I was going to say all my cameras have the make model and serial number built right into exif data of every photo I take.

Re:Meta data? (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796885)

Yes, it's called EXIF and they are talking about a photo with the EXIF stripped.

Re:Meta data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797035)

FTFS
"Engineers at Polytechnic University Brooklyn have discovered that digital snaps shorn of any metadata...

Re:Meta data? (1)

Diddlbiker (1022703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797045)

Of course someone who is stripping the exif data will never resize the image and run some sharpening over the image just to cover their traces, right? Which would be st00pid because now they know you are (and I quote): "He says that because digital cameras have a shelf life of only 18 months, this can help to narrow down when and where it was sold." "Yep, this one was taken by a Canon Powershot A510 of which only 5.7 million were sold. We also know that this particular model was either sold in North America, Japan, Europe, Africa, Australia, South East Asia and South America. That should narrow it down."

Re:Meta data? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797103)

> Of course someone who is stripping the exif data will never resize the image and run
> some sharpening over the image just to cover their traces, right?

Some will, some won't. Criminals are notoriously careless and stupid.

> Yep, this one was taken by a Canon Powershot A510 of which only 5.7 million were sold.
> We also know that this particular model was either sold in North America, Japan, Europe,
> Africa, Australia, South East Asia and South America. That should narrow it down.

Yes. Of the 18 initial suspects only two own that camera. Concentrate your investigation on them.

For what purpose? (1, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796825)

"Forensics teams are already licking their chops."

I can only see this, in a positive light, as uncovering fraud or deception -possibly even supporting a claim as to the veracity of a witnesses' testimony to photographing a crime- instead of this being used in a nefarious way. Although, once the algorithm is well understood, certain 'non-well-intentioned' organizations or individuals will use this for evil instead of good. But in the meantime, how would this worry the average digital shutterbug?

Re:For what purpose? (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797025)

Could perhaps be used for prosecuting people who take photographs in "forbidden" areas, such as evil people who dare to take pictures in the DC Amtrak station, on the Pentagon reservation, and other such areas. I can't quite figure out how this would play into it though.... And of course as far as I know nobody has (yet!) been prosecuted after the fact for such photographs.

Re:For what purpose? (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797055)

Sounds a lot like tracing typewriters to me.

Re:For what purpose? (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797343)

Except with typewriters and gun barrels there are physical nuances that leave unique markings on bullets/letters. This just identifies the model, and even that's degraded as the image goes through various software manipulations, as other posters pointed out. It may help reduce the population of digital camera owners in question, but it doesn't seem like the kind of evidence forensics teams are "licking their chops" over.

Scientific American (0)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796831)

Wasn't this already covered in Scientific American a few months ago?

Re:Scientific American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796939)

Don't know if it was SA, but I remember reading this about a year ago.

They're after you (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25796841)

I have a friend who is so paranoia about leaving personal data on the Internet he doesn't even use his own name as login name on his iMac. Don't let him hear this or I will never get any pictures from him by mail anymore!

Re:They're after you (2, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797393)

You'll have to tell us who he is so we can be sure not to let him hear.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25796943)

A shoeprint reveals the brand and model of the shoe that left it, and unique features of a shoeprint can be traced back to a specific shoe.

Why is anybody up in arms about this? Hundreds of thousands of each model of camera are sold, and even if unique features of a picture can be traced to a specific camera, that doesn't mean one can directly correlate a picture to the person who took it. And who posts pictures directly to the web without some sort of destructive editing anyway?

Re:In other news... (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797173)

Closer examination of my car revealed the tires leave marks on the ground if it soft enough or if I come to a sudden stop or extreme speed. This could give away the type of car you own to anyone. News at 11.

Still to come tonight:

Other tell-tales signs still not exstinquished in commen life are:

Your gate may give away your gender.
your address may give away your residence.
Your phone may give away your location.
Your CD's may fingerprint your burner.
Your IP Address may give away your computer location.
Your fingerprint may give away your identity.
Your paper trail ballot may give away your vote.
your googles may give away your fetishes.
your government may give away your tax dollars.

All these breaking news items will be revealed... Sometime soon, I can't say when, as that would give away my work schedule.

From the News for Paranoids, Good Day.

al;ksdjfl;aksdj.... .... .... ....

Umm.. you mean he wasn't on the net, he phoned this in?
Your serious?
Good God, Man! How will we track him now?
A Trace... Hmmm... eficient, but time consuming. I don't have time to wait for a judge.
Lets just wait until he includes an expose of us with a picture.
Yes, then we can back track the res. and multiplex it by the doohicky and figure out what camera he used.
 
YES! THE CAMERA! Then we'll call up the manufactures, find out where they are sold, narrow down the distribution points to the timezone that he calls in. From there we can cross reference with the memory stick size and figuer out what walmart he bought the camera from. Then it is just a matter of going through a few receipts to find a non credit card transaction for the camera, because he doesn't want traced - so it should be obvious. Now we have it narrowed down to the store, and we can watch a few minutes of security foottage to find him and view him going to the vehicle. Unless he gets on a bike, you still need a license plate and THEN WE WILL HAVE HIM!!!!! .... ....
What.
Damn... Round up the boys, were looking for a scanner!
And I want the Tin-Foil Sales figure results for a TEN-Mile-RADIUS in Five!

---- Tune in next week when our mark decides to buy Tin-Foil, with exact change at the self-checkout! ----

Re:In other news... (1)

qzulla (600807) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797469)

Very good, Mr. Bond, very good.

But what about that island he purchased? What about that? Surely it should have been on the list.

qz

No Shit.. (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797099)

That data is obviously on any uploaded pic site. The only way around is a copy paste of that image into a new file.

I just do not understand why it took a crack team of scientists to overstate the obvious... again.

Spoofing Software (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797117)

So when is the first software designed to process photos taken with one model of camera so that they appear to have been taken by another going be available on the Net?

Re:Spoofing Software (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797511)

no, the real question is this. How long until we have to find cracks to disable software 'features' that hijack your picture viewing program so that pictures taken by certain cameras look horrid?

that's right! put on your tin foil hats! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797125)

Forensics teams are already licking their chops.

If you're not sending information to have them checking into the origin of the photo in the first place? So what?

I'm really bored of the conspiracy bitches around here. You people are fucktards for the most part. Just hide in your little caves and let the rest of us live a life.

Metadata (0, Redundant)

3ryon (415000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797137)

Or you could just look at the EXIF tags for make and model that every camera records when it takes a shot.

And this is newsworth why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797225)

Old news... nothing new to see.. move along...

This just in... (3, Insightful)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797263)

Cops didn't realize that most pictures posted on the interweb thing are usually post processed.

Dam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797347)

... ... So all those late night cocaine, moose binging photos of a certain Senator from "Up North" can be traced to my Cell phone! Damm Was hoping to sell them to "E!" first! Guess i'll have to take Republican rates now... :(

No way (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797351)

OK Mr. Know-It-All, what kind of camera did I use?
http://tinyurl.com/5kqfq6

Put up or shut up.

the downside (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797485)

(blatant CSI plug)

"Sarah! we found out that our image was taken by a Kodak easyshare C913."
"Good job Nick, how many suspects does that give us?"
"In Las Vegas? 50,000"

False positives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797531)

If you know how this technique works, could you alter the image to make it appear like it comes from another camera?

You know, to *prove* that it wasn't from yours? Or, to frame someone else?

Prior research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25797583)

Well this was already done by a researcher in SUNY Binghamton. Why wasn't that work acknowledged?

Add noise... (1)

spurioustruth (970045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25797665)

How about just adding a steg file to all images consisting of 'n' kilobytes of random data before you post stuff to the interwebs. That should mess up any such analysis, right?
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