DIGITAL IMAGE AUTHENTICATION

With the rise of digital media, images have gained a large presence in court. Digital images can be significant evidence in a range of cases, but with lives on the line, this evidence needs to be an honest reflection of the events that occurred.

Primeau Forensics Digital Image Authentication

WHAT IS IMAGE AUTHENTICATION?

Digital image authentication is the application of image science and domain expertise to discern if a questioned image or video is an accurate representation of the original data by some defined criteria, and/or the determination of the original source of the image. – Best Practices for Image Authentication SWGDE V 1.0 Pg. 4. In other words, it determines whether an image is real or fake. And Primeau Forensics’ digital image forensic services are performed using the best practices for image authentication within the scientific community. 

 

Similarly, image authentication does not answer specific questions about the subject(s), object(s), or event(s) within an image, such as “Is a specific object present?” “What happened?” or “Where is the scene depicted?” These are all examples of questions answered through image content analysis. – Best Practices for Image Authentication SWGDE V 1.0 Pg. 4.

 

Images from a digital camera are not always reliable, especially as more people use photo editing software. That’s why digital image forensics is often necessary to determine authenticity. Thorough forensic image analysis can always detect whether an image was manipulated or not. Explore our various image investigation services below.

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IMAGE AUTHENTICATION SCIENCE

The purpose of digital integrity verification testing is to validate the integrity of the image format. While performing this service, we examine the digital information embedded within the image. This will determine if the information is consistent with what we would expect to see from an original. 

 

For example, a camera system creates an original recording when it produces a first-generation copy. An expert then performs forensic image analysis and verification testing. These procedures will tell us which recording is a copy and which is the original.

 

IMAGE AUTHENTICATION STAGES

When you contact one of our forensic experts for image authentication, we’ll work through a series of stages to determine the integrity of the image presented.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION

The initial examination gives the forensic scientist a broad view of the digital image. They'll look for any immediate signs of tampering or inconclusive evidence that could benefit from further analysis. Information such as the device used to take the image, where it was taken, and how it's been handled play a role in this analysis. This preliminary testing determines if image authentication services are necessary or possible before taking the time and using expensive equipment to examine the file.

CAMERA-ORIGINAL ANALYSIS

This step aims to authenticate the digital image. Experts intently examine the presented materials to look for edits or alterations. Then they examine the data of the file and decide if this information aligns with an original copy. Our experts also look at camera specifications to find any signs of edits. This error-level analysis essentially x-rays the images to find faults. A digital information test will determine if an image has been modified with an application such as Adobe Photoshop. These sorts of edits leave digital footprints behind that signal an alteration.

GLOBAL AND LOCAL ANALYSIS

Image examination continues beyond the data embedded in the file. Copying images, often done for use in court, can affect the quality of the picture globally. Formats such as JPEG or PDF can compress the image, which interferes with the pixels. This lack of quality will deem the image inauthentic because certain subjects in the photo, including people or vehicles, will be unidentifiable in the compressed file. Image examination also includes analyzing specific areas of the image to determine if local modifications have occurred which include cloning, stamping, morphing, compositing, light manipulations, or removal of information from a digital image.

EXEMPLAR SAMPLE COMPARISON

In some cases, experts will create an exemplar sample to compare it to the image under scrutiny. For example, if the image was taken with an iPhone, another image will be taken with the same device to compare the qualities of the images and their data. This method is one of the most definitive ways to determine the authenticity of a photo. If there are discrepancies between the sample and evidence, tampering is likely present.

IMAGE AUTHENTICATION INVESTIGATION OPTIONS

PRELIMINARY REVIEW

EXAMINE IMAGE TO DETERMINE IF WE CAN ASSIST FORENSICALLY
  • Initial Consultation
  • Visual Inspection
  • Provide Opinion
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FILE FORMAT ANALYSIS

VERIFY THE IMAGE AS AN AUTHENTIC CAMERA ORIGINAL
  • Verify as Camera Original or Copy
  • Verify Date and Time
  • Manipluation & Edit Detection
  • Photoshopped Detection
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image content analysis

ALL POSSIBLE TESTS NECESSARY TO AUTHENTICATE IMAGE
  • File Format Analysis
  • Sample Image Comparison
  • Similar Images on the Web Search
  • Re-save / Re-Compression Detection
  • Re-Sizing Detection
  • Clone Detection
  • Local Modification Analysis
  • Photographic Conditions Analysis

Litigation Support

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR ATTORNEYS
  • Pre-Trial Preparation
  • Affidavit Generation
  • Factual Reports
  • Opinion Reports
  • Demonstrative Exhibits

EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES

Expert Witness Services are available for image authentication investigations by Primeau Forensics. In addition to trial preparation and testimony, expert witness services include a forensic report of all testing performed. This formalized report outlines our conditions, authentication methodology, and opinions.

 

Furthermore, Primeau Forensics’ procedures assist the trier of fact to make determinations about the images used as evidence. Our experts also anticipate all possible direct and cross examination questions when we prepare for testimony. 

 

In conclusion, our image authentication services have been successfully admitted in over 25 court cases in 10 states. Not to mention, they have also been used in several international cases. 

 

Digital Image Forensics and Expert Witness Services

Request a Proposal for Forensic Image Authentication

At Primeau Forensics, we use an unbiased, third-party perspective to provide evidence in court. We work with facts and make a point to communicate complex processes in easily understood ways. With 35 years of experience in the industry, we have experience working with attorneys, law enforcement, the United States government, and other forensic experts.

 

Our team of analysts receives annual training to stay up to date on the latest examination technology. Our experts are certified by law enforcement agencies and are prepared to handle your digital picture authentication. 

 

We offer pro bono consultations before our image authentication services. Contact us today to request a proposal.

If you have an image that you question or need help understanding, please contact us for a pro bono consultation.

Primeau Forensics

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