- Sony is set to introduce an in-camera technology called digital birth certificate that will authenticate an image’s origin using digital signatures
- The NFT-like system, developed in partnership with the Associated Press and Camera Bits, is said to protect industry professionals and the general public from manipulated images and misinformation
- Sony will implement the digital signature and C2PA authentication system on its cameras – starting with the Alpha 9 Mark III – via an OS update in Spring 2024
At the CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Japanese electronics, gaming, and entertainment corporation Sony revealed the creation of a new in-camera digital signature technology that effectively provides an NFT-like “digital birth certificate” for photos.
This digital birth certificate, which can verify the origin of the content, is closely linked to the core concept of non-fungible tokens (NFT) deployed on blockchain networks. However, Sony has refrained from calling the system an NFT.
Sony Partners With The Associate Press To Introduce Digital Image Authentication System
During a press conference, Sony Electronics president and COO, Neal Manowitz, stated that the company is collaborating with the Associated Press and other industry leaders on the front to create digital birth certificates for images captured on its cameras. He added that with this initiative, the firm is helping creators “navigate opportunities” while prioritizing “protecting the authenticity of their work”.
Manowitz claims the system will validate the origin of the creators’ content and help safeguard facts and combat misinformation.
Sony says the digital birth certificate, which is set to be integrated into its cameras, starting with the Alpha 9 Mark III, will generate a machine-based digital signature for captured images. The digital signature is a unique identifier that can be tracked and verified on a database, similar to how NFTs are recorded on a blockchain.
Here the aim is to help professionals, like journalists and photographers, safeguard the authenticity of their content and give news agencies an added layer of protection from being victimized by manipulated images.
Sony Alpha 9 III, Apha 7S III, And Alpha I Set To Get The Feature Via An Update In Spring 2024
Sony showed a working model on stage at the CES that could prove that the photos were authentic and unaltered. The company also announced that its in-camera digital signature and C2PA authentication will be released via a firmware update on the Alpha 9 Mark III, Alpha I, and Alpha 7S Mark III camera models later this year.
However, it remains to be seen how industry professionals and the wider public will view this technology but it surely represents a major step forward in the battle against the spread of misinformation and image manipulation, especially in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
“The dissemination of false information and images has a real-world social impact that brings harm not only to our photojournalist and new agency partners but to society as a whole”, stressed Manowitz about the growing concern of altered or manipulated imagery by generative AI.
Sony developed and tested the image authentication technology in collaboration with American not-for-profit news agency the Associated Press (AP) and software company Camera Bits back in November 2023.
However, the Japanese electronics giant isn’t the first company to introduce a technology that detects if a captured image has been tampered with in any way. That mantle goes to the German camera manufacturer Leica, who introduced a Content Credential Label system on its M11-P rangefinder camera in October.
The system creates a timestamp of an image that contains information about when it was taken and if the content has been manipulated.