Sony has announced in-camera forgery-proof photo technology designed to help secure images against unauthorized manipulation and guarantee provenance. It is now available for Sony a7 IV camera systems and is aimed at corporate users wanting to safeguard the authenticity of their content, much like the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) is attempting to do in both the consumer and commercial market.

If you're unfamiliar with the CAI, it's an initiative created in 2019 by Adobe in partnership with Twitter and the New York Times. It consists of various media and tech companies working together to create an open industry standard for content authenticity and provenance. Companies involved include many media organizations, like USA Today, The Washington Post, Getty Images, Gannett, the Associated Press and the BBC.

As for camera companies themselves, Ernst Leitz Labs and Nikon are featured members. Sony isn't a member of the CAI, but it is a steering committee member of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA), a Joint Development Foundation project that combines the efforts of CAI and Project Origin.

The CAI works by applying a cryptographic signature at the time of content creation. From then on, there's a secure record of the creator, whatever information that creator wanted to preserve, editing history, and a record of the content's proliferation through publications and social media. A consumer of the digital content can then view CAI information about the content. Sony's technology appears to use a similar idea, using digital signatures created at the time of capture using the camera's onboard processor.

Content Authenticity Initiative graphic courtesy of Adobe

The files captured with Sony's a7 IV cameras will then detect any modification to the image, which protects the creator(s) from fraudulent usage. If someone augments the image without authority, there's a record of it. Sony writes, 'With Sony’s in-camera signing mode activated, images are immediately cryptographically signed by the camera processor upon capture. Following this, any pixel modification, tampering or potential forgery will cancel the image signature, as the image manipulation will be detected by the customer’s own certificate server during examination.'

The technology is designed with passports and ID verification in mind, but it can also be applied to media, medical and law enforcement fields. Technology like this can also be useful in the insurance and construction sectors, ensuring that images of any damage remain secure. Significant money is on the line in some industries and depends on truthful, accurate photographs.

Sony's new anti-forgery technology is currently only available for the Sony a7 IV, but Sony is working on bringing it to additional camera models.

Yasuo Baba, Director of Digital Imaging and European Product Marketing at Sony, said, 'It is Sony’s missions to strengthen business solutions with cutting-edge imagery technology and our in-camera digital signing is a real gamechanger for combatting image manipulation and forgery across multiple industries. Whilst appropriate adaptations for each industry need to be made, the digital signature is multilingual and can be used internationally, enabling organizations worldwide to streamline mandatory image signing with Sony technology.'

At launch, the in-camera forgery-proof photo technology is currently only available on the Sony a7 IV. The technology requires the receipt of a license to enable Sony's in-camera signing mode. There's no pricing information available, and any interested parties should reach out to their local Sony PR manager. Sony says it will continue to consider additional camera support and provide customers across multiple industries with enhanced security.