What is Image Authentication?

Digital images used as evidence are only a reliable representation of the events when the court can verify them appropriately verified. Editing applications can manipulate digital images while concealing a judge’s and jurors’ ability to detect them. Furthermore, even uploading can convert or process images accidentally. When used in court, the uncertainty of an image’s authenticity is especially concerning. Our forensic image authentication services enable our team to discern if an image is authentic or altered. In other words, photo authenticity checks using digital image forensic methods like image analysis.

Why is photo verification important?

“Image authentication is the application of image science and expertise to determine if an image or video accurately represents the original data by some defined criteria and the determination of the source of the picture.” SWGDE Best Practices for Image Authentication

Image Expert Michael Primeau explains the role of an image forensic expert in court and the forensic photo analysis process in the video to the left. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Image Forensics

Primeau Forensics offers image authentication services using the best practices with the highest accuracy for court use. Freeware tools can detect photo manipulation, but forensic tools combined with the ACE-VR methodology are the most reliable. Above all, the attention to detail combined with verification is the best scientific method to determine whether digital image evidence is genuine.

Forensic Image Analysis

Another format for forensic investigation of an image(s) in image content analysis. Specifically, this analysis looks at the visual components of an image, such as its compression, camera features, and physical environment.

 

Forensic Process

Preliminary Examination

First, a forensic scientist assesses the digital image and look for any "red flags" to warrant an investigation. The initial evaluation examines information such as the device type and where the device originally stored the digital image. This chain of custody helps decide if further examination using forensic photo analysis is necessary and if specialized tools will help with the case.

Image Manipulation Detection

Second, experts carefully examine the digital information to detect traces of edits or alterations in the digital evidence. They also check the data and camera specs. An error-level analysis displays an X-Ray of the image to detect any faults.

Metadata Analysis

Thirdly, a digital information test is useful to detect traces of photo manipulation tools as well as image modification traces. Photo forensics can detect any digital footprints left behind from an edit. Reverse image searching is useful to discern if similar images to the evidence exist on the internet.

Global/Local Analysis

Next, the most in-depth analysis examines the entire image (global) as well as specific areas within the image (local). For example, copying images for court use can reduce the quality of the picture. JPEG or PDF formats compress the image, making it hard to identify people or things in the photo. However, photo forensics is used to look for signs of local changes like clone detection, stamping, morphing, light manipulation, or removal of info.

Device Verification Analysis

Generally, source verification is an effective way to determine if a photo is genuine. Experts may make a sample to compare with the analyzed image, considered the original image. The expert uses the same device that created the evidence to generate the most accurate models during the investigation. In most cases, an image has undergone alteration when the digital information between the sample and the evidence differs significantly. Undoubtedly, this is the most effective methodology for image verification.

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EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY

Michael Primeau, our lead image forensics expert, has examined hundreds of images throughout dozens of cases as an expert using digital image forensics. He has had the opportunity to collaborate with renowned trial lawyers from around the world.

We use peer-reviewed methods to verify image evidence with accuracy. The widely accepted methodology ensures the reliability of our experts and our clients' investigations.

We have helped legal teams in courtrooms across the USA and can provide expertise to create a successful litigation plan. Our trial experience makes us stand out from other companies.​

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