Digital Images from a digital camera are not always reliable, especially as more people use photo editing software. That’s why Photo forensics is often necessary to determine authenticity for courtroom use. Thorough image forensic analysis will determine if an image is real or fake. 

Image Expert, Michael Primeau explains the role of an image forensic expert, the digital image authentication process, as well as the role an image authentication investigation plays in court in this video.

determine if an image is real or fake

WHAT IS PHOTO FORENSICS?

Image forensic analysis 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.

 

RELIABLE IMAGE FORENSIC ANALYSIS

Primeau Forensics’ image forensic analysis services are performed using the best practices for image authentication within the scientific community. There are many freeware tools that can provide manipulation detection, however they are not as thorough as forensic analysis which uses the ACE-VR methodology. This is the most reliable scientific methodology to determine if an image is real or fake. 

Image Forensic Analysis

PHOTO FORENSICS PROCESS

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 photo forensics is necessary/possible before taking the time and using expensive equipment to examine the file.

CAMERA-ORIGINAL ANALYSIS

This step aims to authenticate the digital image as an original. 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 using photo forensics.

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. As a result, 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. In addition, image examination uses photo forensics to interpret 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 using photo forensics. If there are discrepancies between the sample and evidence, tampering is likely present.

EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES

Expert Witness Services are available for image analysis 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, 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 forensic analysis 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

DO YOU NEED HELP IN DETERMINING IF AN IMAGE IS REAL OR FAKE?

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OUR PHOTO FORENSICS SERVICE.