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Canon Files For DSLR Iris Registration Patent

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the biological-metadata dept.

Patents 273

An anonymous reader writes "Canon has filed for a patent for using iris watermarking (as in the iris of your eye) to take photographer's copyright protection to the next level. You set up the camera to capture an image of your eye through the viewfinder. Once captured, this biological reference is embedded as metadata into every photo you take. Canon claims this will help with copyright infringement of photos online."

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uh (5, Insightful)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400418)

remove the meta data?

Re:uh (4, Insightful)

fonik (776566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400476)

I'm guessing they'll use some kind of watermarking. But, do you really want every photo you take to be unambiguously traced back to you? On one hand, photos you take can be traced back to you. On the other hand, the watermarking or metadata could probably be removed by a third party. It seems lose-lose for the camera owner.

Re:uh (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400622)

The more confident people are in there little tracking toys, the easier it is to get away with things.

I think it's a waste of effort, but then anyone who wants credit to them this will be a feature.

Re:uh (4, Interesting)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400734)

Or worse. Your camera gets stolen and is used to photograph illegal activities. The images are then posted on the net with your watermark on them. Cops arrive at your door and your life is history.

Re:uh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400796)

Your camera gets stolen and is used to photograph illegal activities.

Well, theoretically, the watermark would be of whoever's eye was up to the viewfinder when the photo was taken. So the photos would be traced back to that person.

Re:uh (3, Insightful)

fredklein (532096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400932)

Um, you fail.

As a result of the foregoing, biological information indicative of a photographer need not be acquired every time an image is taken and, hence, processing executed by the imaging apparatus is not subjected to a load in terms of the sequence of photography.

Re:uh (2, Informative)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400818)

If you want the images watermarked with your iris, you have to verify it's you (as in, put your eye to the viewfinder). Apparently the watermarking can be done later in bulk, to avoid slowing down the camera's performance in the field.

Re:uh (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401002)

Yeah, but as soon as the patent describes the technique publicly, it would be possible to extract the metadata block from someone else's photos, use the same technique with that data, and extort money from someone, e.g. "Don't want these photos of kiddie porn signed with your iris? Put ten million dollars in non-consecutive unmarked bills in a brown paper bag under the mailbox at 5th and Rochester."

Am I missing something?

Re:uh (2, Interesting)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401118)

Now that I think about it, that's a good point. There are ways to hide watermarks, and make them difficult to find/remove, but they tend to degrade signal/noise ratios (not good for a camera, at least of professional quality. Most pocket cameras I know have plenty of noise to hide the watermark in), and it'd be a fairly CPU intensive process inserting it. So, you have a point there.

Re:uh (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401226)

Yeah, if you can do that, then I can do that. Report the extortion attempt and get on with your life.

Re:uh (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400836)

err, if you don't take the photo it won't be your iris in the water mark. jump the gun much?

RTFA, it's YOU who jumped the gun... (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400888)

the invention does not capture an iris image with each shot. In fact, it describes allowing up to 5 users to pre-register their irises in the camera. It goes on to say...

As a result of the foregoing, biological information indicative of a photographer need not be acquired every time an image is taken and, hence, processing executed by the imaging apparatus is not subjected to a load in terms of the sequence of photography. Furthermore, biological information can be registered in advance.

Re:uh (2, Interesting)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401296)

Yeah, that's well-thought. If my camera is stolen how the heck are they going to put my eye in the viewfinder to watermark their photos?

Re:uh (1)

icydog (923695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400896)

On one hand, photos you take can be traced back to you. On the other hand, the watermarking or metadata could probably be removed by a third party.

Luckily, though, only one of the above can be true, since if you can remove or alter the watermark then it's not foolproof and can't be unambiguously traced to you.

menu option? (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400948)

Enable Iris Watermark? [YES] [NO]

Re:menu option? (2, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401140)

Not to mention the obvious:
Enable Camera Password?[YES][NO]

Encrypt the iris store in the camera... problem solved... next?

Re:uh (2, Interesting)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401194)

Maybe you don't, but as a pro photographer I do want to be able to track every photo that I think belongs to me. Do you really think that anyone has access to the data? You can have one of my photos that doesn't mean you'll be able to know it's mine. On the other hand, I see a photo posted somewhere on the net and I can run my software to see if it is really mine. Luca

Re:uh (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401328)

How the hell is this a lose-lose situation? The whole point is this gives those people who do want every photo they take to trace back to them an option to do so. Do you really think they will force people to use this feature? Do you really think everyone is so paranoid to the point where they won't buy any camera with this technology?

Unless you are just trolling, this is definitely one of the more tin-foil-hat posts I've seen on Slashdot in a long time.

Perhaps there is a concern for identity theft, depending on how it's implemented, but I'm sure there are ways around that if it is a real problem.

Sweet (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400422)

Now if I need to break into someplace that use iris biometrics I can just get that from a photo off of Myspace!

Re:Sweet (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400598)

Now if I need to break into someplace that use iris biometrics I can just get that from a photo off of Myspace!

...and grow a working eye in a test tube. ;-)

Re:Sweet (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400666)

I would wager I could take the information and generate a picture with the proper key points in the right place. they don't actually recognize it as an 'eye' but as something to look at for key points. Which is one reason why there pretty easy to defeat.

I can not wait until we can do eyeball transplants with our own eyes that we grow.

Also, every thing else. or better A whole new body of when I was about 24 and just transplant my head.
Why yes in fact, I would love to live forever.

Re:Sweet (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400990)

Someone on Slashdot has a funny sig, something to the effect that they would like to train in the resurrection skillsket.

I too would like to live much longer then the typical human lifespan (although I think 100 years on this rock may prove boring). I'm currently 25, and I think with the advances in biotechnology that will be occuring in the next decade (or two), we'll be much closer to this being possible (maybe not immortality, but living 1.5-2 times the current developed country life expectantcy).

Re:Sweet (0)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401318)

"although I think 100 years on this rock may prove boring"

If you run out of things to do in 100 years, it is *you* that is boring.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400750)

Shouldn't you have a ~ at the end of that? ;-)

Re:Sweet (3, Funny)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400956)

Yeah, that's awesome, I was getting sick of ripping eyes out with a ballpoint every time I needed to defeat an iris scan... it really screws up the pen!

Re:Sweet (5, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400964)

Practically every post here raises one of a small handful of obvious concerns. Funny thing is they're answered within just two sentences of the article:

"Alternatively, by processing an acquired biological image into a personal authentication code and recording the code in the image of a subject, the amount of personal data serving as additional information may be reduced." In other words, no, an image of your iris cannot be recovered from the watermark.

"Alternatively, by embedding personal data which is biological information in the image of a subject as an electronic watermark, falsification can be prevented more robustly." In other words, no, the information won't just be easily removed tags in the metadata.

That's right, armchair experts, Canon isn't stupid enough to develop this entire application of watermarking without even knowing the first thing about it. Surprise!

Re:Sweet (2, Interesting)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401246)

Most people who use canon stuff also have photoshop or something like it - should be interesting to see how the watermark fares after the image is processed. Likewise, it'll be interesting to see how the watermark affects the actual image.

metadata (0, Redundant)

ultracool (883965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400428)

What about editing metadata?

Re:metadata (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400460)

pfff. oh yeah. right. with some "magical hex editor" or something. keep dreaming.

Re:metadata (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400626)

The theory seems simple enough. Get a series of pictures copy the similarities, produce a copy.

In the land of the blind... (3, Funny)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400480)

... the one-eyed man is king (but meta tagged).

Re:In the land of the blind... (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401056)

Read your HG Wells.

Re:metadata (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400516)

From the article: "Alternatively, by embedding personal data which is biological information in the image of a subject as an electronic watermark, falsification can be prevented more robustly."

Using wording 'embedded' and 'watermark' I imagine that these are generated within the image. Not entirely sure though.

Another interesting point is that the iris information can be programmed into the camera once and then anyone who uses the camera is watermarking the image with the original iris scan and not their own.

Re:metadata (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400638)

While you can easily edit EXIF data (GIMP has the ability for certain, and IIRC so does Photoshop), I suspect that it would be a little harder to remove a steganographic image that is embedded into the image file itself (unless of course you save it into a different format, say .raw -> .bmp -or-.tiff -> .jpg (taking the extra step just to be sure you rinsed it all out).

BUT... this doesn't remove the original image, which a photog can take into court proving that it's his... now where's your 2-zillion x 1.5 zillion rez RAW image w/ the steganographic retina scan (and all the other related images showing similar scenery), to match the one he's using in court against you to prove original ownership? (which in turn pretty much tells you that it isn't even halfway useful until/unless somebody sues you for ripping off his work...)

OTOH, I don't think it has much practicality due to the simple fact that not all photographs (especially pro photos) are taken with someone's eyeball right up against the eyepiece. There's a reason that all the decent photo shops sell release cables and tripods, yanno? :)

/P

Re:metadata (2, Interesting)

jimdread (1089853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400826)

BUT... this doesn't remove the original image, which a photog can take into court proving that it's his... now where's your 2-zillion x 1.5 zillion rez RAW image w/ the steganographic retina scan (and all the other related images showing similar scenery), to match the one he's using in court against you to prove original ownership?

Suppose you produced an image by doing conversions from one format to another, starting with some photographer's original image. Does the photographer hold the copyright for this derivative image? The photographer might have some image which looks pretty much the same, with a watermark of his iris in it. But does he have the original of the image being complained about? The photographer doesn't have the generated image, because you produced that image yourself.

How different does one image have to be from another image before copyright on one image doesn't apply to the other one? Do the images have to look different to the eye, or do they just have to look different to a computer program like "diff"? What if you do a bit of cropping and run a few filters over the photographer's image. Does the photographer have copyright over the image you make? If you remove the watermark from an image, is that enough to make it a different image according to copyright law?

Re:metadata (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401240)

Makes no difference at all. What you're talking about is roughly analogous to "This was first published on Royal paper with a 12pt serif font, so if I publish it on Crown Quarto in a 10pt sans-serif it's a different text!"

As for the cropping/filters there is existing legislation about derivative works in music, art and literature which varies by country.

Re:metadata (2, Funny)

alxbtk (1009019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401298)

Sure, and if you convert a CD to MP3 files, then it's totally OK to distribute free copies of said files.

Re:metadata (1)

Snorpus (566772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401020)

My understanding is that the iris image is taken ahead of time, and applied after, the actual photography moment.

... whatcouldpossiblygowrong (3, Insightful)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400440)

And also help to track down that pesky journalist/blogger/dissident always posting images the government doesn't like? No, I'm not referring to any government in particular.

So we'll have journalist's contact lenses if those things become the DRM of digital photography?
Like with most advancements in modern electronics, this one does not go down my throat without a huge grain of salt.

Re:... whatcouldpossiblygowrong (4, Funny)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400500)

The first thing I thought of after reading the intro paragraph was, "how is this going to be abused?" And what you suggest was exactly what i was thinking. First the government will require all cameras have this technology embedded in it to save the children from pornographers! Then they'll use it to track down that traitorous bastard commie journalist that took pictures of Senator Greedy and his hooker girlfriend (which were faked!).

Note to self: Get more foil from the supermarket.

Re:... whatcouldpossiblygowrong (1)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401224)

Bloke, you are going to have to step up the tech. Foil only saves you from em fields. "They" are using reflected light or infra-red to read your iris. And "They" aren't going to need to have your eye pressed up to an eyeviewer. "They" read it from the reflection off the lamp post you just walked past. I mean might walk past.

uh...turn it off? (5, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400532)

Or don't buy the camera?

This is something Canon would tout as a feature of their camera, for which artists would pay a premium, so that they could more easily prove that a particular photo belongs to them.

Keep in mind these are people who (1) earn their daily bread by taking amazing photos, and (2) often have to endure years and years of dry spells before one particular photo hits the big time and generates widespread interest. They have a very strong interest in controlling the reproduction and use of their photos, so they can get paid for their years of effort. A feature like this, sort of an automatic unfakeable "signature" embedded in each frame, would make it much easier for them to prove that a given photo is their property.

You might not like that of course, but that just means you're not a photographer. Presumably when it comes to whatever you do creatively, that takes years of discipline and effort to do, and which puts the food on your table, is not something you'd like people to just be able to duplicate and distribute randomly and broadly without even asking you first.

Think of it as the equivalent of your engraving your SSN on your very expensive tools, so that if they're ripped off you can prove they're yours.

Re:uh...turn it off? (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400696)

You get paid for that moment. No one deserves more money for their dry spells.
Sorry, but that really torques me.

Re:uh...turn it off? (2, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400820)

Fortunately, in (most of) this world, you are not paid according to what you "deserve," but according to what you can negotiate freely with the people who want your services or product.

Forcing your moral and ethical standards on others -- e.g. stating what other people do and do not "deserve" -- is something I find reprehensibly arrogant.

Re:uh...turn it off? (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400844)

And if your tools are ripped off, you can also add the frisson of identity theft worry to the nuisance and cost of replacing expensive tools.

What percentage of the professional photographers' work is work-for-hire? Does the watermarking survive the printing process? Will the watermarking survive the web-sizing?

However, as noted above, I would be concerned about freedom of the speech and the press if the photos could be traced back to the photographer.

Re:uh...turn it off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400870)

Bingo!

Even a old Fuji S1 3.2 megapixel DSLR kicks the crap out of 98% of all the point and shoots (even the 12 megapixel crap)

I know of many pros that still shoot with older DSLR's because they use old film lenses so you can get the lenses cheap and 90% of a photo is the lens NOT the resolution.

only idiots will buy this new "system"

Re:uh...turn it off? (1)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400918)

Or don't buy the camera?

Or don't have a choice? This sort of technology could be easily abused and inserted covertly into most, if not all, cameras at the bequest of governmental intelligence agencies. This has already happened with ink jet printers which secretly print a serial number, traceable back to the purchaser, on every document printed. Abuse of this kind of technology is a threat to already threaten free speech.

Re:uh...turn it off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22401188)

do you have a source to back up this claim about printers?
sounds like you are wearing some foil on the head...

Re:uh...turn it off? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400958)

Money aside, I've had photos stolen before. I took an incredible shot of the ISU riots a few years ago- a flaming dumpster in front of a mayhem collectibles store (sign says Mayhem)- and several people took it and credit. It wasn't a for cash shot, but in principle it bugged me to no end. I'd heavily consider paying for a camera with that watermarking if it was really unremoveable and identifying.

Re:uh...turn it off? (0)

Ernesto Alvarez (750678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401130)

Thinking that a watermark is unremovable is incredibly naive, considering all the time we've been spending discussing them here (in relation to music and film copyright enforcement).

A watermark is removable by a resourceful attacker. If the attacker is not so resourceful/intelligent/creative, simply storing some identifying metadata should suffice. With that watermark, you gain protection against a "mid-range" attacker only, that does not know/cannot remove the mark, but knows how to touch the metadata.

In no case iris scanning is of help, you could just embed some other info in the watermark (your name, or similar), unless the camera can take the fingerprint for every photo (think of someone else using your camera).

You're wrong. (1)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401048)

Speaking as a photographer who has had his work used in print and on-line, (including photos of Mexico used in brochures put out by the Mexico department of Tourism), I can say that *NOBODY* deserves to get paid for mediocre work, and if you're going through a 'dry spell', then you're doing mediocre work.

Re:uh...turn it off? (4, Informative)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401280)

Pro photographer here:

It's not that hard to prove ownership of photos (for purposes of copyright assertions). I've gone head-to-head with people a couple times to prove that I created (and therefore was the owner of) the work in question. Nobody's ever argued that, really.

The problem with copyright is more on the law side than the proving ownership side. Copyright attorneys are wildly expensive, and cases are usually long and drawn-out. Plus, just holding the copyright only entitles the owner to sue for actual damages. Only when the work is registered Federally within 90 days of publication (first use) can the owner sue for anything more than actual cost (IE, damages). Hopefully damages are enough to cover not only the bills, but the work missed while in court.

I would much rather see a less tiered system where any use outside of fair use (and I have a broad view of fair use) is open to suit for cost as well as damages. I don't mind seeing one of my photos on a MySpace page or copied to someone's blog (especially if I'm actually given credit), or even if someone goes to my site, grabs a bunch of photos and makes a screensaver FOR THEMSELVES, but I can't stand it when my photos are appropriated into ads, tourist sites, news sites I didn't contract with, etc.

It is much easier (and cheaper) to spell out user licenses and sue for breach-of-contract than it is to get anyone on copyright infringement and actually have it be worth your time to pursue.

In my estimation, the ONLY good thing to come from the DMCA is the ability to serve voluntary and involuntary infringers with takedown notices relatively easily and cheaply.

typicalslashdotkneejerkreaction (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400662)

And also help to track down that pesky journalist/blogger/dissident always posting images the government doesn't like? No, I'm not referring to any government in particular.

They'd be storing a *representation* of the iris image data. Useless for matching. Watermarking the actual image is only mentioned very briefly and in passing, in a sort of "oh, and you could watermark the image with this" kind of way.

Given Canon's bread and butter with pro cameras are the press (your cute digital rebel costs $700; a 1DMk3 is $4k), they're unlikely to do anything that will piss them off.

Re:... whatcouldpossiblygowrong (1)

stuff and such (980278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401122)

Anyone know if wearing those holographic type contact lenses changes the outcome of something like this?
And if the meta data is stored in the camera, can't I just put my cat up to the camera for the 1st photo?

Yes, this will help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400442)

sheeple
sheeple who love sheeple
are the loveliest sheeple in the world

hmm.. (4, Funny)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400446)

So does reflecto-porn count as prior art? I mean, if you consider "unique image of the photographer embedded in the photograph" as prior art.

Is it really watermarking if it's in the metadata? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400464)

That sounds pretty easy to strip out after the fact. Or, for that matter, to add in. What makes this any better than adding your name or email address to the metadata, as most cameras allow you to do now?

Proving an image is yours generally isn't even a problem. Online images are lower resolution versions of the originals, only the photographer will be able to produce an image with many times the quality of the online version. The problem is a) finding out that your images are being used without your permission, and b) getting it to stop. Both of these are made much more difficult by the global nature of the Internet, and neither of them are made any easier by this iris watermarking, as far as I can tell.

Re:Is it really watermarking if it's in the metada (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401026)

If it's not defeated, watermarking does make it easier to find copies of your images. You only have to process each image on the web once to find your watermark. Without watermarking, you'd have to do a pairwise comparison between every image on the web and every image of your own.

you mean sometime soon now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22401306)

...that the intartubes are going to be "crawling" with thousands/millions of watermark search spiders, each one downloading image after image? Over and over again every time someone posts a new image with their watermark? Then another run the week after to just "make sure" it hasn't happened yet? Just to check to make sure they haven't been copied? Might make SPAM and P2P tunes sharing look like a minor bandwith issue at that point.

Use and Abuse (2, Insightful)

neibwe (101336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400486)

Is there some form of public/private key crypto? Otherwise you'd have the same issue with forged signatures or lifted thumb prints.

"Ooo, hey I just extracted ur iris pic and watermarked my baby pics with it. Now you're busted for kiddie porn. LoLz."

crypto not silver bullet (1)

Erpo (237853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401042)

I agree that this sounds easy to fake. However, cryptography is not a silver bullet that one can incorporate into any technology idea and have it make the whole thing work. Cryptography is a tool, like a screwdriver, and it can be used for some jobs and not others.

Genius idea (2, Interesting)

xigxag (167441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400514)

I don't know that it will achieve its intended purpose, but nevertheless, as a concept, that is shockingly genius in its elegance and simplicity. Damn you Canon, for not waiting for me to come up with it first.

It strikes me that the patent system is much like Slashdot in that only one person gets to shout "First Patent!" whilst everyone else with the same idea is downmodded to oblivion.
 

Re:Genius idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400686)

It strikes me that the patent system is much like Slashdot in that only one person gets to shout "First Patent!" whilst everyone else with the same idea is downmodded to oblivion.

That's sort of the idea. The patent system is supposed to encourage people to develop new ideas and register them as quickly as possible. If people who came up with the idea later (or copied it from you) didn't get the shaft, there'd be little incentive to do research.

Re:Genius idea (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400788)

So, just patent the idea of using a fingerprint instead. If this is patentable, that should be too. Of course, I don't think either deserves a patent. A watermark is a watermark is a watermark, and this is just using something personal for it.

Re:Genius idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400876)

Unlike most patent stories we read, this is a case where a patent seems justified.

I...eye? (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400530)

Well, that sounds silly. I can't imagine that it'd be a good idea to make available one's biometric identifiers ready-encoded, still less wise to place that into the metadata. Which can be, quite simply, either stripped out, replaced or repurposed.

It might make some sense to embed some form of identifier within the image itself using old-fashioned steganography, where at least it's harder (though still absolutely possible) to remove or acquire, but, as it stands, this proposal seems to embody the worst of both worlds: we'll make your identifying information publically available and in an easy-to-remove format! Net gain: um...?

Still, I guess I can hope they'll patent it only to prevent other companies from implementing stupidity.

What a terrible idea (1, Insightful)

Qwerpafw (315600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400536)

As more and more governments and business turn to biometric data for confirming identity, and identity theft becomes a more and more prevalent problem, Canon's solution is to embed your biometric data in publicly distributed images?

Someone would just navigate to your flickr page, do a quick google search to find your real name (or read it from your page), look you up in publicly accessible databases to acquire your address etc, and then just rip your biometric information right out of the images you post! As wikipedia points out [wikipedia.org] there are commercially available fake iris contact lenses designed to defeat these scanners - previously, the problem was only in acquiring someone's iris. Not to mention that in the future as biometrics become more popular we're likely to see people's irises, fingerprints, and other information used in household readers for providing authentication to software and internet applications - much like the fingerprint scanners we're seeing on more and more laptops.

Publically distributing your iris is a bad idea now, but a terrible idea in the future.

1. Engage brain, 2. Respond (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400968)

As more and more governments and business turn to biometric data for confirming identity, and identity theft becomes a more and more prevalent problem, Canon's solution is to embed your biometric data in publicly distributed images?

I assume it's not embedding raw biometric data, but rather a cryptographic hash of your cryptographic data and the image data. You know, like a PGP signature.

Of course, since it took me about 0.3 seconds to come up with this, I'm sure it's beyond the capabilities of Canon's entire R&D division, huh?

Nothing to do with copyright (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400584)

Canon has filed for a patent for using iris watermarking (as in the iris of your eye) to take photographer's copyright protection to the next level.

No, putting your photos on a CD or DVD and then following these instructions [copyright.gov] takes it to the next level. It helps that a)you have the RAW files and nobody else does and b)most cameras encode their serial number into the EXIF data (or similar for a RAW image), and if you have proof of ownership of said camera...

I didn't see anything in the patent summary provided by the linked site that related to ease of copyright enforcement. Just:

Alternatively, by embedding personal data which is biological information in the image of a subject as an electronic watermark, falsification can be prevented more robustly.

Wow, you don't say. We can do that now- it's called Digimarc. They'll even crawl the web for you and look for images with your Digimarc watermark. Too bad it costs about a zillion dollars- their pricing model means that only a small number of pros use it (and you pay for both per-image watermarking, AND the services like web crawling.) This technology is sufficiently expensive and limited in scope to mean that it will never make it into anything except the 1D series cameras- it probably wouldn't even make it into the _0D series.

I really don't see an application for this technology, except for *maybe* press agencies, where they want to (more) easily track who took what photo. This is a fairly painless way of doing so; you no longer need to track who has what camera (Canon and Nikon provide loaners for repairs and loaners for special events, which means that no, it's not 1 person, 1 camera. Pro's also often shoot with more than one body.)

Though really, they could do the same thing with a microSD slot (where shooting preferences could be stored, too) for a lot cheaper. The only thing this gets them is more "proof", maybe- if they can somehow provide tamper-proof metadata (supposedly, the "data verification kit" from Canon provides verifiable images, but I've never seen even the most basic description of how it works.)

Re:Nothing to do with copyright (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401262)

I read the instructions on copyright.gov and I can't find anywhere where it says that you can submit CDs/DVDs to the Library of Congres, which your wording seems to imply. It sounds to me they want prints only.

Personally, I would prefer to send (optical, not inkjet) prints as in the archives of the LoC they will no doubt last longer than recordables.

An idea... (0, Offtopic)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400604)

Can we get a standalone USB Iris scanner for Photoshop?

I know a lot of people who would benefit from this type of watermarking.

It would certainly become useful on Art social networking sites like mine.

Loss of resolution (2, Interesting)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400630)

So, the raw image (or high resolution JPEG or other) is watermarked. Seems to me that when the original image is re-encoded for publication that detail will be lost.

steg (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400644)

Not in the metadata, but the patent doesn't specify. Digimarc does this; they try to embed information into the image via stenography. However, it must be quite redundant, cover the entire image, and not affect the output, through all kinds of filters that post processing entails. This is a difficult problem, IMO.

  For example, jpg and several other popular formats allow for pixel info that is not displayed, but that is an easy target. in true steg, the information is interwoven with part of an image which are "busy" as so bits flipped expressing for encoding - or spread so widely that single,subtle shifts - are not intrusive. Filters can reduce the number of matching bits down to a statistical norm, but the image quality changes. Also, the steg must be impervious to cropping, rotation and flipping.

  I can see this being viable for commercial uses, but then again, if you're caught with unlicensed photos, all revenue from things they are attached to are on the table for awards. Most pros do not steal commercial images - one's reputation is finished.

  Online, I think if you succeed in finding your photos via a crawler that matches based on this info, you're then left splitting fair use from not. Most online uses are fair, actually, since they're not for profit. Now remember, you can crawl images now and sniff out similars - its painful and error-prone, and this doesn't make it easier.

  So then after you dice through all your hits, you find your photo being used [for example] to sell Cisco hardware for billions, you then write and ask for compensation, showing them the proof. And...up to this point, people were stopped at this last step? Courts look at the two images now and didn't believe they were the same? Smells like gimmick.

  How often are images stolen and used for commercial purposes? I really dont know.

Who's iris is it? (1)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400752)

Does this mean someone could add the watermark/metadata for their own iris on a previously unprotected image, thus making it look like they were the author instead?

if only there were some way to remove metadata (4, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400758)

like maybe the print screen button

why not fingerprints... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400760)

finger prints from the shutter release button will be easer to scan.
New DSLRs start having "live-view" on the LCD like the P&S. In the near future not all pictures will be taken from a viewfinder. A finger still needs to press the shutter button, though.

Re:why not fingerprints... (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401316)

If you have a DSLR your probably interested in things like manual focus and aperature adjustment in which case using the tiny low res LCD screen mounted on the back of the camera is probably not going to convey the fine details of the image that looking through the viewfinder would.

100% PURE AFRICAN NIGGER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400780)

ooga booga my highest aspiration in life is to be a fuckin thug

ooga booga where da white women at

ooga booga i want my affirmative action

Re:100% PURE AFRICAN NIGGER (1, Flamebait)

Ricin (236107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400986)

No, you want euthaenesia. You just don't know it yet.

How does it guarantee the data is accurate? (0, Redundant)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400782)

Most modern cameras have a LCD screen. That means it's going to be impractical to force the user to always look into the viewfinder. Also most decent cameras can take photos on a timer. That means the eye data must be stored.

But this in turn makes it very easy to store anything as eye data. I could use my cat's eye for identification. Or find a high resolution photo on the web, print it, and try to get the camera to accept somebody else's eye.

Who puts the eye on the viewfinder? (2, Insightful)

charlieman (972526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400842)

Really, who does that this days? if this is suppose to work for any person on any camera they would have to register the iris every time a photo is taken. If it's registered before taking photos, then anybody using your camera can take photos that can be traced back to you, not them.

Re:Who puts the eye on the viewfinder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400944)

Obviously you have never owned an SLR. Those cameras have much more accurate viewfinders and, as a result, usually don't feel the need to put a live feed on the LCD display.

Re:Who puts the eye on the viewfinder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22401256)

Holding a camera out at arm's length while looking at an LCD screen is not a recommended method of taking photos. Yeah, most people do it, but most people aren't photographers.

As a photographer... (3, Informative)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400848)

It's neat, but I'm not sold. The real issue with it all, is not proving that it's your photograph. RAW files, EXIF data, and having a whole sequence of photographs instead of one, can help prove that a photograph actually belongs to you. The issue more often than not is commercial photographers not going after those that infringe upon their copyrights. I know it sounds draconian, but that's life. I love my Creative Commons as much as the next *nix user, but if you're trying to make your living off of it, you can't hand it away.

idiotic (3, Informative)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400866)

Using a biometric identifier for watermarking is pointless and only broadcasts your biometric id across the world. Biometric ids are there for proving that you are you, not that something belongs to you.

If you have a good watermarking scheme, embed a string like "This image is Copyright 2008 by ..." into the images. If, for some reason, you want to sign your images digitally, sign them digitally.

Waah. (2, Insightful)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400914)

As said above: Turn it off, or don't buy that camera. I'm not particularly sold on it myself, so I won't buy it (that and I shoot Nikon, and I've already invested in lenses).

Re:idiotic (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401032)

Perhaps someone should modify the camera to sign each key with your PGP private key stored on microSD. A little more fool-proof.

Tagged "gay"? (-1, Flamebait)

Ricin (236107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22400938)

Would someone please kindly shoot the homephobic basement dweller that still thinks that it's bon ton to insult me and many other people with their adolescent (and completely off-topic) labelling. Thanks.

No difference at all from the NIGGER troll(s) that rightfully get mod into oblivion.

Or else, I want to see a NIGGER tag too. Because it's just as fucking stupid and insulting.

Re:Tagged "gay"? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22400980)

are you some kind of fag? you sound like one. you fag. or maybe your just another bleeding-heart pussy who has to get your panties in a wad over little shit that doesnt matter. awwwwwww, somebody said a widdle word u dont like, now you gotta get all pissy about it. either way your a fag.

btw "gay" is what homosexual people call themselves you fuckin douchebag and for somebody who doesnt like the word gay, you sure dont have any problems sayin the word nigger, even putting it in all caps like that. thats real cute you hypocrite. dont worry im sure your going to get modded up for it.

Re:Tagged "gay"? (1)

Ricin (236107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401024)

Yah baby, now reach for the kleenex. Atta boy

Re:Tagged "gay"? (2, Interesting)

azakem (924479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401064)

Fight back, tag !gayyouhomophobicbastard

Click (1)

Altec Lansing (311071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401062)

Wot?! My robot can't take pictures?

an easier yet better method (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401066)

just put your signature on a piece of paper, scan it with a flatbed scanner and save as a couple of the popular file formats used for computer graphics (jpg, png, gif) then resize them small enough to not be noticed and paste them on to your photos you want copyrighted/trademarked whatever, then nobody will know they are there unless they zoom in to 400% and look for the signature in a specified location, but since you keep all that your own little secret nobody knows they are there unless you need it to defend your self in the court of law...

I am the Paedofinder-General, and I pronounce... (1)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401124)

...you Guilty of Paedophilia, because your iris code - as identified from the metadata of images you have shared on Flickr - has been found in images taken by a Kiddie-Fiddler in Thailand and posted to irootkids.com

Your protestations that such data is insecure and easily manipulated is nonce-sense, for you are a nonce - as proven by the facts that someone with a hex-editor and too much time on his hands has implicated you in such heinous acts, your credit card records that show that you ate at a Thai restaurant, the half-remembered recollection of the waitress that you ordered Tom-Yum soup and the fact that your son's name is Tom.

And now, on a more serious note...

Surely anyone involved in professional production of such materials these days would "file the serial numbers off" before distribution, meaning they'd strip as much of the metadata off as they could and would turn such features off in cameras they used. However, there would be a sufficient number of people who didn't do that to make it worth pursuing leads that identified a particular camera or photographer. My question is, how easy would it be to forge such incriminating photographs? If you knew a particular politician owned a particular camera model, and you could get a couple of sample images from it, would it be worth your while having someone in Thailand take pervy pics with the same model and passing all that information over to someone who could produce a believable hybrid file with the pervy images and the real meta-data?

Story is tagged "gay"? (1, Offtopic)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401170)

Is it too much to ask that we kick the homophobia? Some people are gay; get over it.

Do what most Photographers do (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401200)

Actually watermark the image. You know, actually modify the image with text, your name, company, firm, whatever. So you can easily view the image, but it prominently displays who it belongs to. When you actually sell it, give them the un-watermarked version.

"Good" DRM? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401238)

This seems all quite innocuous.

The system is completely voluntary, so privacy concerns should be kept to an absolute minimum... The only reason you'd want to use this system is to permanently attach you identity to your photos, thus intentionally sacrificing a bit of privacy.

In return, you receive nearly-absolute proof of ownership for said photos. This prevents some twat from pulling my photo off of Flickr, selling it to Reuters, and pocketing the profits. However, it doesn't do anything prevent the photo from being copied or propagating across the web (which is something that most "traditional" DRM systems would do).

It seems like a very nice compromise wherein the rights of the content producers and end-users are both protected. End-users are free to do what they please with the content (a la Creative Commons), while the content-producers may retain ownership of their own work, and reserve commercial rights to that work (which they're perfectly entitled to do!).

I must say that I like this quite a bit.

What about people that sharing the camera? (1)

fuzzylollipop (851039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401288)

What happens when someone else takes a picture with the camera, if it stores the iris imprint, I will be getting credit for someone else's crappy photography!

We already have a think tank for working out... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22401312)

the results of such technology. It's called Science Fiction. Remember 'Minority Report'? It and stories like it are proof that any 'infallible or ingeniously indispensable technology can be both wrong or misused.

Moral of the story here is that any theft-proof or idiot-proof identification method remains so only as long has it has never been tested against either.

The second thing to go wrong with this type of technology is that someone will copyright their retina pattern and there will be copyright disputes as to who owns what all over again.

sad, sad, sad....

copyright infringement of photos online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22401336)

i didn't know "copyright infringement of photos online" was a problem
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