Forensic Photo Analysis

Questions, speculations & updates on the techniques and nature of media fakery

Forensic Photo Analysis

Postby MartinL on August 6th, 2010, 11:55 am

Photo Tampering Throughout History


Photography lost its innocence many years ago. Only a few decades after Niepce created the first photograph in 1814, photographs were already being manipulated. With the advent of high-resolution digital cameras, powerful personal computers and sophisticated photo-editing software, the manipulation of photos is becoming more common. Here, I have collected some examples of photo tampering throughout history. To help contend with the implications of this tampering, we have developed a series of tools for detecting traces of photo tampering.



Prof. Hany Farid, Director, Neukom Institute for Computational Science 2008 ? present

Seems like Mr. Farid is yet to realize there also was TV fakery going on in 2001.....

http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/resea ... ndex3.html

He leads the Image Science Group whose research focuses on digital forensics, image analysis, computer vision, and human perception.


Ten years ago I stumbled upon a clause in the Federal Rules of Evidence that stated that a 35mm negative and a digital image are equivalent when photographs are introduced as evidence into a court of law. That is, film or digital photos can be introduced as evidence, and they hold equal weight. At the time, I thought that this was a problem, and that it was going to become a bigger problem as digital photography became more ubiquitous. So I started to think about how we could authenticate digital images



http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/

Mr. Farid is the recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2002 Sloan Fellowship for his work in the field.


The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic non-profit organization in the United States. It was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. In 2000 the Sloan Foundation initiated a national program to prevent bioterrorism that has evolved to address general terrorism preparedness, and has made 40 grants totaling over 17 million.



Board members of the foundations have links to the Clinton administration, MIT and US Army, so that might explain Mr. Farid's incompetence when it comes to 9/11...
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Postby ozzybinoswald on August 6th, 2010, 12:55 pm

MartinL 4 Aug 6 2010, 11:55 AM wrote:Mr. Farid is the recipient of a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2002 Sloan Fellowship for his work in the field.


The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic non-profit organization in the United States. It was established in 1934 by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. In 2000 the Sloan Foundation initiated a national program to prevent bioterrorism that has evolved to address general terrorism preparedness, and has made 40 grants totaling over 17 million.






MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), ALFRED P. SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

This major institute is not generally recognized as being a part of Tavistock U.S.A. Most people look upon it as being a purely American institution, but that is far from the truth. MIT- Alfred Sloan can be roughly divided into the following groups:

Contemporary Technology Industrial Relations NASA-ERC Computer Research Laboratories Office of Naval Research Group, Psychology Systems Dynamics

Some of MIT's clients are:

American Management Association
Committee for Economic Development
GTE
Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA)
NASA
National Academy of Sciences
National Council of Churches
Sylvania
TRW
U.S. Army
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Navy
U.S. Treasury
Volkswagen Company
http://www.whale.to/b/tav.html#MASSACHU ... NAGEMENT__


Adm. Thad Allen to direct Gulf of Mexico oil spill response
Published: Saturday, May 01, 2010

"Adm. Thad Allen, the retiring U.S. Coast Guard commandant who directed recovery operations during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, was named by the Obama administration today to oversee the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico....
A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Allen holds a Master of Public Administration degree from George Washington University and a Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the only four-star admiral of the Coast Guard. The commandant reports directly to the president, and the secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense."
http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill ... _gulf.html
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Forensic error level analysis website

Postby nonhocapito on February 14th, 2011, 1:35 am

Maybe it's old news but I just found out this website, and it seems interesting.

Apparently it indicates the chances of picture being photoshopped, when after resaving it over and over and comparing it to the original, there are significant differences of color in certain areas.
I don't know how much this tool is accurate, far from me to say that this thing is the last word about anything being fake or not.
I suppose it indicates the probability of manipulation when it shows extreme differences in brightness in a given picture.
I ran some tests on imagery recently featured on the forum, and other random images. Here's one:

http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/0fce1fd/

ImageImage

(the interpretation here being, if I understand this correctly, that not only wall and person do not belong to the same shoot, but the blood too was added from another source)

here's another test: http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/c4ffebd/

...and compare with this recent shot of Berlusconi with Russian president on the news: http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/8c1788e/ where the difference between bright and dark areas seem to be a lot less significant, if not irrelevant, after the comparison.
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Re: Forensic error level analysis website

Postby regex on February 14th, 2011, 1:59 am

I tried this tool now a number of times with photographs that are obviuosly fake, but it's still not easy to interpret the result.

So, I'm still not sure about how usefull this tool really is.
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Re: Forensic error level analysis website

Postby nonhocapito on February 14th, 2011, 2:04 am

regex wrote:So, I'm still not sure about how usefull this tool really is.


From the FAQ:
Why doesn't this thing work?
If a picture has been resaved many times, or if a picture is of a very low jpeg quality, it is quite difficult to determine accurately whether it has been digitally altered. Likewise, if all parts of a picture have been saved the same amount of times, it will not pick up either. This tool is set up to work on high quality jpeg photos (95% quality), and as such, if it is run against lower quality photos, the results can be harder to interpret.

Just because this tool does not show any sections of the image at differing quality levels, doesn't mean the image hasn't been manipulated. If all the source images are all of the same quality (or all of poor quality) then it likely won't show much.


I guess we should test it with really high quality photos. Funny how those are rarely to be found with faked events... ;)

(also:
So, what should I be looking for then?
If the results from the ELA tool show an image which is all bright, it does not indicate that a photo has been manipulated (quite the opposite actually). What does indicate manipulation, is different levels of brightness throughout the image. If certain sections of the image have noticeably different levels of brightness, it is a strong indicator for further investigation.
)
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Re: Forensic error level analysis website

Postby regex on February 14th, 2011, 2:20 am

nonhocapito wrote:I guess we should test it with really high quality photos. Funny how those are rarely to be found with faked events... ;)


Thats the image I jus tested:
http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/61ccd0a/

It's not in high quality, I know but it's obviously faked. :lol:

So I tried it with the famous wtc collapse footage:
http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/a61dcdd/

How would you interpret it? :huh:
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Re: Forensic error level analysis website

Postby nonhocapito on February 14th, 2011, 2:42 am

regex wrote:How would you interpret it? :huh:

I see nothing... I'd say it has to be higher quality... But then I try one of Boo-her very high quality shoops of the rubble scenery and it doesn't take because it is too high quality :angry: bah.
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Re: Forensic error level analysis website

Postby simonshack on February 14th, 2011, 5:45 pm

Hmm. Slightly interesting, regex - but I still prefer the old-fashioned "Use Your Own Eyes" machine... B)


Image


And this frame is saved directly from the highest-quality-available mpeg2 NBC 9/11 archive material...
Image
Do we need a machine to tell us what a joke this is? Do we need any special software to detect, for instance, the absurd halo(s) running up the side of WTC1 - and of WTC1 only? Not to mention the general texture/chromatics/ of the entire cityscape?

As much as those TV-fakery crews are inept an untalented, I don't think they ever need (and probably - at least carefully avoid) to use imagery originating from different photographic material - as is usually the case when doing an innocent, funny photoshop montage to entertain your family with...


...such as this kind of stuff:
ImageImage
(found at http://voicesofseptember11.org/dev/memo ... 2756628371 ) :rolleyes:
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Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby icarusinbound on February 3rd, 2012, 4:45 pm

Without reaching for tinfoil hats (yet), I notice the Error Level Analysis website http://errorlevelanalysis.com/, run by Image Forensics, is still unavailable. It was unreachable for a while around a week ago, same again a few days back, and now it reports:

Please hang tight whilst we move to a new server!.

Stay tuned for when we relaunch:<enter email address>


Most unfortunate. Any known alternatives?

ps Simon/Hoi, why not offer to host a mirror service? Many users of this site might be willing to subscribe to support this
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby lux on February 3rd, 2012, 8:56 pm

I considered it a miracle that it lasted as long as it did.
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby nonhocapito on February 3rd, 2012, 9:17 pm

I don't think that service is really down, they have been promising a refined algorithm for a while now, maybe this is the reason for the hiatus. In any case there is a GIMP plugin that does the same thing, I believe, although I personally could never find it and test it (brianv knows more).

But we must not forget that error level analysis is only one of many forensic investigations that can be performed on a picture, and I'm not even sure it is all that crucial.
See this old post for reference: http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index. ... toria.html

(As to hosting a mirror, they don't seem to need that at all (the site is up), and it would be very very expensive in term of traffic and load on a server, without counting that they are probably rightfully very protective of their algorithm.)
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby brianv on February 3rd, 2012, 11:02 pm

http://sites.google.com/site/elsamuko/f ... ects=0&d=1

Drop it into C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\scripts

You will then find it on the Image menu inside Gimp.
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby nonhocapito on February 9th, 2012, 7:45 pm

This story just had a bittersweet development.

Icarusinbound was right, errorlevelanalysis.com is in fact going to be shut down!

but...

About two weeks ago, Pete contacted me and said he decided to shutdown errorlevelanalysis.com. (I think it was taking too much of his time and resources.)

While I am not fond of making tools publicly available, I thought that this resource was too valuable to vanish. Pete's site literally introduced millions of people to the field of photo forensics. Therefore, I have started up a new site that will carry on where Pete left off: FotoForensics.com. Just like Pete's site, anyone can submit a picture and see the ELA image. But I decided to try to improve on the site. Some of the new features:

New ELA. I have a couple of different variations to the ELA algorithm; some work better in certain situations. The one that runs on the FotoForensics server is a good general-purpose system.
Uploads. FotoForensics permits images to be uploaded by URL or from a file on your computer. (The old site only permitted uploads by URL.)
Formats. The old system only permitted JPEG images. FotoForensics permits JPEG and PNG. "But but but, ELA doesn't work on PNGs!" Actually, it does. Since PNG is a lossless format, images converted from JPEG to PNG retain their JPEG artifacts. Using ELA, you can tell if any parts of a PNG originated from a JPEG.
Tutorial. The biggest limitations with most ELA implementations is that there is nothing to tell people what to look for. There is no training and users are on their own. I've written up a basic starter tutorial that should help people learn how to read the ELA image. (Assuming they want to read the tutorial.) Hopefully this will cut down on some of the negative criticism, and help people who are not programmers.

My goal is to keep FotoForensics as a free service and without advertisements. Content will not be resold to third-parties and I don't make mailing lists.

From http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index. ... nsics.html


This comes from non other than Neal Krawetz, AKA "The Hacker Factor", who already has a pretty good blog about image manipulation and forensics. I find this development hopeful. And honestly, the thing I personally look the most forward to is the tutorial, because i haven't really figured this thing out that much :)

http://fotoforensics.com/
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby lux on February 9th, 2012, 8:28 pm

^ Good news!
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Re: Image Forensics site still down/moving host?

Postby brianv on February 10th, 2012, 12:21 am

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