Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker

Started Jul 20, 2007 | Discussions
Yankinwaoz Forum Member • Posts: 68
Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker

Interesting article about how the person who photographed every page of the new Harry Potter book, and then leaked it, forgot to scrub out the EXIF data from the images. Now they know the serial number of the Canon 350D that was used to take the pictures.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2104250.ece

Lesson learned: Don't forget to check your Metadata when posting any image publicly.

PS: This same meta data issue has also burned some news photographers who have attempted to pass off altered photos as authentic. Some editors put a "before" image thumbnail in the meta data. So some smart people simply compared the thumbnail to the full image and the changes were obvious.

optical_illusion Senior Member • Posts: 1,029
Re: Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Nathan Yan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,444
but...

the article doesn't say what lens.

OP Yankinwaoz Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Yes. Of course. Are you suggesting that the photographer injected fake EXIF data?

Doesn't seem likely to me. If they are going to all the trouble of updating each image's EXIF serial field, then I would think they would most likely just scrub the image of all data.

My gut tells me that they just forgot about the EXIF data. You know the saying... "Never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence".

eossatan Regular Member • Posts: 348
to some extent

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

gaussian blur Veteran Member • Posts: 5,459
Re: to some extent

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

Sure..it's just a tag in the file and changing it won't invalidate anything.

SLove Contributing Member • Posts: 813
Re: to some extent

gaussian blur wrote:

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

Sure..it's just a tag in the file and changing it won't invalidate
anything.

Yes. Changing the EXIF data is very easy. It would also be very easy to change the EXIF of a large number of pictures in no time at all for anyone with more than very basic computer skills. Macros and scripts aren't exactly IT guru stuff. But I agree, it is still more likely that they just forgot to remove the EXIF data.

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jeffkrol Veteran Member • Posts: 6,225
Never heard that one. I like it.

Yankinwaoz wrote:

You know
the saying... "Never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by
incompetence".

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crouvrais Contributing Member • Posts: 884
Re: According to the Exif Data it was the kit lens ...

Nathan Yan wrote:

the article doesn't say what lens.

Phil Askey
Phil Askey Veteran Member • Posts: 9,822
Re: to some extent

Yes you can, but frankly I don't think the person who took these shots bothered to, they probably didn't even realize that their serial number was recorded.

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

-- hide signature --

Phil Askey
Editor, dpreview.com

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Movinon
Movinon Regular Member • Posts: 237
Re: to some extent

What software removes the exif data if you are posting your pics on a public forum. Can this be a batch process?
--
ED..............movinon

Victor Engel Forum Pro • Posts: 18,686
Re: to some extent

Lots of software can do it. If nothing else, start with nothing and paste a screen print. There is no EXIF data in screen displays of images (unless the image is of EXIF data).

Photoshop has a save for the web option, which strips EXIF data.
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Phil Askey
Phil Askey Veteran Member • Posts: 9,822
Re: to some extent

Oh just resize it using some third party tool, many of them don't maintain EXIF.

Movinon wrote:

What software removes the exif data if you are posting your pics on a
public forum. Can this be a batch process?
--
ED..............movinon

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Phil Askey
Editor, dpreview.com

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eossatan Regular Member • Posts: 348
you are right...

High Phil,

For the first time, Phil respond to me! WOW....

Ok back to the topic, yes you're all correct! The EXIF is completely modifiable!

I had a quick look into this and in the case of Canon RAW converted via Adobe's tool, the xmp file is completely open to anyone to do almost anything they want with it...

I guess then even if the EXIF data is there, doesn't mean it's the right 'DNA' for the camera used as mentioned in the article...

Even worse is when someone tamper with the EXIF...

I work in I.T. and there's a saying that "To course confusion, don't delete data, modify them..."

Without diverting too much away from this topic, I wonder if there's anything that's completely unique about a digital file? By that I mean something that enforced constraint violation and unmodifiable?

Thanks

Phil Askey wrote:
Yes you can, but frankly I don't think the person who took these
shots bothered to, they probably didn't even realize that their
serial number was recorded.

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 21,549
Re: you are right...

If they had to prove the camera, they could even map dead pixels. Every camera has them. There is a lens serial number in the EXIF too.
I wonder if the camera or lens has been registered for warranty with Canon...

eossatan wrote:
High Phil,

For the first time, Phil respond to me! WOW....
Ok back to the topic, yes you're all correct! The EXIF is completely
modifiable!
I had a quick look into this and in the case of Canon RAW converted
via Adobe's tool, the xmp file is completely open to anyone to do
almost anything they want with it...

I guess then even if the EXIF data is there, doesn't mean it's the
right 'DNA' for the camera used as mentioned in the article...

Even worse is when someone tamper with the EXIF...

I work in I.T. and there's a saying that "To course confusion, don't
delete data, modify them..."

Without diverting too much away from this topic, I wonder if there's
anything that's completely unique about a digital file? By that I
mean something that enforced constraint violation and unmodifiable?

Thanks

Phil Askey wrote:
Yes you can, but frankly I don't think the person who took these
shots bothered to, they probably didn't even realize that their
serial number was recorded.

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

-- hide signature --

Chris, Broussard, LA

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Snycer Regular Member • Posts: 362
Canon and Privacy

If Canon turns over the name of the registered owner without a court order, I would be very wary of ever buying another Canon product.

bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 21,549
Re: Canon and Privacy

With the small army of lawyers that are going to go after the person who took those images, they will probably have a court order to do so on Monday.

Snycer wrote:

If Canon turns over the name of the registered owner without a court
order, I would be very wary of ever buying another Canon product.

-- hide signature --

Chris, Broussard, LA

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DougJGreen Senior Member • Posts: 2,823
OTOH, it will be much tougher to prove

That the camera was in the possession of the guy who originally bought it, at the time that those photos were publishd. They can always dump the camera somewhere or sell it at a fleamarket, and claim that they lost it months ago.

CharlieDIY
CharlieDIY Veteran Member • Posts: 7,120
Re: to some extent

Phil Askey wrote:
Yes you can, but frankly I don't think the person who took these
shots bothered to, they probably didn't even realize that their
serial number was recorded.

eossatan wrote:

optical_illusion wrote:

But exif can be manipulated, can't it?

Sure Time Taken, Digitized, Modified, Places, Tags, Author.... are a
piece of cake...
But has anyone manipulated the camera's serial number within the EXIF?

I'd bet when it all settles in, the publisher reacts with a big nothing: this little tidbit did absolutely nothing to create a sales problem, and probably intensified the interest in some areas.

Having tried to read one of my granddaughter's Harry Potter books some time ago, I can congratulate Ms Rowling on her sales figures.
--
Charlie Self
http://www.charlieselfonline.com

Tom McCarty Contributing Member • Posts: 833
Re: to some extent

I would bet the serial number is not even kept.. and could be a stolen camera

anyway. All they have to do is say they lost it... no big deal now the info is out

The reason I say the serial number is not a big deal.. I had a gun stolen from my house and 25 yearrs later it still has not been recovered and the number was lost in their systems anyway
--
Tom in Yorba Linda

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