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New Cameras and the Content Authenticity Initiative

By October 31, 2022No Comments
Screenshot of Content Authenticity Website. Text says "Addressing misinformation through digital content provenance."

Screenshot of Content Authenticity website. (10/30/22)

By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Marketing, Communications & Blog Coordinator

Last week, at the Adobe MAX conference, Adobe announced a partnership between Nikon, Leica and the Content Authenticity Initiative, which seeks to provide media transparency through content provenance. What’s that and why should I care? Read on.

The Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) involves publishers, including Reuters, Gannett and the New York Times; tech companies like Adobe, Microsoft and Nvidia and Qualcomm; and hundreds of other companies which now include camera manufacturers. This consortium is attempting to protect the work of journalists, creators, publishers and consumers with open source tools that establish and embed provenance in media products, including photographs and video.

With Nikon’s Z9 and Leica’s M11, photographers will be able to choose which metadata–such as when, where and how an image was captured–will be attached to their photos. These CAI “content credentials” provide encrypted signatures that show if metadata has been altered or if the signature, itself, was tampered with. Processing tools, like Photoshop, preserve the credentials established at the time of capture and add on a history of any alterations made to the image.

News organizations and publishers will be able to read the CAI data using the Verify site. Assuming the photographer has enabled the tools, they allow users to see who took the photo, the original metadata and how much it has been edited or changed. It will also let them know if the content has been changed or is being used by a third party. In this way, news organizations hope to avoid and combat misinformation and plagiarized images. Photographers and media creators hope to get the attribution, credit, and licensing fees they deserve. There are several case studies on the CAI website that give examples of how this new technology is being used already.

Given the number of companies and media organizations involved, it seems likely that the CAI content credentials will be enabled in more camera models and brands over time. What it will do for photographers is an open question, but one worth following.

Frank Gallagher is a landscape and nature photographer based in the Washington, DC, area who specializes in providing a wide range of photograph services to nonprofit organizations. He serves as NANPA’s Interim Marketing and Communications Coordinator and manages NANPA’s blog. He can be found online at frankgallagherphotography.com or on Instagram @frankgallagherfoto.