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Can FBI geeks identify legal/illegal images?

destinyland (578448) writes | more than 6 years ago

Government 2

destinyland writes "The FBI's geeks admitted they were nervous over computer-generated images at a recent forensics conference. In court they're now arguing that a jury "can tell" if an image is real or computer-generated — which marks the current boundary between legal and illegal. But reporter Debbie Nathan argues that that distinction is getting fuzzy, and that geeks will inevitably make it obsolete."
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2 comments

Its almost ready for home use (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23679287)

3d art is now a ready for out of the box home use.
The 'tell' is really only the background in some images.
With skill, lighting software and time some amazing images can be generated.
Skin texture is within the reach of at home computer artists.
As for courts the USA still has some protections vs many Commonwealth based legal systems.

Seeing isn't believing (or won't be very soon) (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23680895)

It's pretty amazing how rapidly we're getting to the point where CG images and even videos will be virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. This has implications far beyond child porn. We will see existing images and videos modified to implicate or simply embarrass public officials. (It's already been one, but in most cases they are easily distinguished as fakes.) We will see lawsuits as real life subjects whose images are used in such recreations start suing the creators. (Again, already some precedent, but when parody becomes as believable as reality, where will the line be drawn?) We will see incriminating video of a crime not merely discarded or destroyed by the perps, but modified to perhaps show a different individual committing the act

If CG gets so good that it is either impossible or very difficult to determine if it's live or Memorex, and proving one or the other becomes too problematic, expensive, or unreliable, we will see the law move in one of two directions. One would be to gradually discount visual evidence as reliable in court, and force prosecutors to dig for more tangible evidence. The other would be to go way beyond the desire to criminalize CG images of child porn to make it illegal to depict ANY illegal act in a realistic manner because of the potential of confusion with real events and the as yet unfounded theory that such images entice would-be perps to go out and do likewise to flesh-and-blood humans.

The latter not only has implications for entertainment and the arts, but for any person who creates or possesses such virtual imagery. After all, if virtual child porn allegedly encourages pedos to go out and pick up their own real-life lolitas, who's to say that images of murder don't potentially create Ted Bundys? Or that images of illicit drug use entice young people to try the real thing? Talk about thoughtcrime -- this dilemma could go a long way to bringing us to the point where distasteful depictions of any gruesome, illegal or immoral acts are considered dangerous because they are "too real."

Think up the road many years (predictions, anyone) when something akin to a Trek-ish "holodeck" becomes not only feasible, but affordable. Farfetched, perhaps, but think of the implications. Would a fully 3D, tactile, interactive scenario that can faithfully reproduce reality act as a safety valve, allowing those who want to do harm to others to do so to soulless non-living figures? Or would those who grasp the lifelessness of the characters merely use the system as a training ground to hone their "craft" and enable them to be more likely to prey on actual homo sapiens with a reasonable chance of both success and evasion of the law? (Of course, the moral and philosophical implications of a "holodeck" go WAY beyond just these points, but they are relevant to the discussion at hand.)

I have no real opinion on this subject except to say that thinking about it is pretty scary and makes my head hurt.....

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