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Doing it backwards

May 11, 2023

Google is planning to mark its AI generated images to make it easier to identify them as such.

Well, that’s backwards.

back_bendThe working assumption today should be that every digital image is fake, unless one can demonstrate its provenance. Instead of trying to identify fakes, which will come from all sorts of sources, what Google should do is work on proving authenticity. That is especially important regarding cellphones, which have become the most common device we use to capture audio and visual data. Google should embed a unique private key in every Pixel phone, with certified and published public key, that the phone optionally uses to sign its images, sound recordings, and video. The signature should validate the metadata — including time and place — as well as the captured data. Google should work with Apple and others to evolve related industry standards.

“This photo provably was taken by a Pixel 4 on August 17th, 2022 at the corner of S. Lamar and Toomey” is a much stronger statement than “we can’t prove it’s fake.” Backed by appropriate cryptographic signature, the first is a statement that will hold up in court.

Back bends are a good exercise. For the body, not for the design of technical standards.

Ob disclaimer: Yeah, I’m still long.

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