February 23, 2008
Of Eyeballs & iHoles
Apparently Canon is developing an Iris Registration Mode that will enable photographers to use their eyeballs to form a kind of digital fingerprint for their images. Hmm… the tech sounds cool (well, provided it works better than the fingerprint scanner on my ThinkPad), but I’m not sure how it helps secure photographers’ rights.
What people want–and can’t have, as I’ve noted previously–is the ability to embed copyright data in images that are both easily readable and secure. Iris scanning doesn’t address the fact that if you can edit the pixels of an image, you can get around copyright data in the image (through copy and paste to a new file, if nothing else). And for all the talk of wanting secure metadata, I don’t see much use of the Digimarc technology that’s been bundled in Photoshop for ~10 years (allowing copyright to be subtly encoded into the pixels themselves), nor do I hear of many photographers passing around their images as secure PDFs (which offer 128-bit encryption, among other things). So, unless I’m missing something (and please shout out some enlightenment if so), iris scanning doesn’t seem to change the game too much, at least as regards downstream image protection. [Via Steve Weiss]
On a lighter eye-related note, check out Scot Hampton’s iHole–the camera made from an iPhone box.