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.

Posted by John Nack at 3:39 PM on February 23, 2008

Comments

  • John C. Welch — 10:51 AM on February 24, 2008

    Why would designers use a product by a team openly hostile to the platform a majority of them use?
    Maybe if the Acrobat team actually did something to show they value their Mac customers as something more than an annoyance, Mac users would use Acrobat more.
    Still waiting on an announcement with regard to Office 2008 integration. I’m pretty sure I know what that word will be, and it’s not “Yes”, but I’m curious as to whether or not the Acrobat team has the spine to be upfront and honest with their Mac users for a change.
    [Sorry, but what does this have to do with the subject at hand? I’m not on the Acrobat team, and i have no context for what you’re talking about. –J.]

  • Andrew Smith — 6:37 PM on February 24, 2008

    Since when have marketing people been concerned about something like the practical usefulness? It will make a lovely bullet point on the box and that’s what will count. I remember the excitement about Digimarc before we worked out that it is a practical waste of time.

  • Scott Valentine — 8:26 AM on February 26, 2008

    Some groups in my organization actually do use PDF as a way to send images around, but for different reasons. It is convenient for them to collect photos into a single document, but they ignore the image degradation when compressing the file. They also don’t consider that the images may need to be extracted later for analysis, since the pictures were originally captured as technical data.
    And they have no idea that you can encrypt PDFs – but then most are still using Acrobat 4.
    Unless a new file format comes out that integrates image information with metadata at a basic level, I don’t see a way of shoe-horning security into images. The best you can hope for is to stumble across copyright violations in time to make enforce your rights.
    Or, you can become so famous that every shot you take is immediately and uniquely identified as being “yours”. Seems like a pretty simple plan, right?
    =)

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