1703 Star Batt Dr, Rochester Hills, MI United States

Digital Image Authentication – Edit/Tampering Detection

Are your digital images edited?

Our digital image authentication services assist the trier of fact to determine the authenticity of a digital image used as evidence. Digital images aren’t always an accurate representation of the events as they occurred, and sometimes require image authentication. The Rules of Evidence require that digital images used as evidence be authentic. In order for a digital image to be used as evidence in court, it must be authentic.

What is Digital Image Authentication?

 The definition of image authentication is defined by SWGDE (Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence):

“The application of image science and domain expertise to discern if a questioned image or video is an accurate representation of the original data by some defined criteria, and/or the determination of the original source of the image.”

-PG 4 best practices for digital image authentication

Authentication Science

Preliminary Analysis

We begin all forensic video authentication and analysis investigations with an initial analysis.  Throughout this process, our experts review the video recording in depth through frame by frame analysis. The goal of the initial analysis is to determine if any signs of tampering, anomalies or other red flags are present. This allows us to learn more about your video recording before proceeding to more costly and detailed forensic testing.

Digital Integrity Verification Testing

The goal of the digital integrity verification testing is to authenticate the digital integrity of the format of the image evidence. Throughout this process we examine the digital information embedded within the  image to determine if it is consistent with what we would expect to see from an original. This original recording would have been produced by the system that created it as a 1st generation copy.

We also perform a 4 part digital information test that analyzes camera specifications of the image. This information may include footprints of photo editing software that were used to manipulate the digital image, such as Photoshop. Malicious edit detection and tampering can be detected through photo tampering detection.

Pixel Authentication Verification Testing

digital image authentication

The authentication investigation doesn’t stop in the digital world either. If cloning or copying methods of physical images are used, a loss in quality can be scientifically observed and documented. Quality loss is detectable through digital image conversion to courtroom ready formats (JPEG, BMP, TIFF, PDF and many more). Clone detection testing is most commonly detectable when images have been copied or converted.

If a digital image isn’t of sufficient image quality due to image compression, the digital image will lack authenticity. In other words, it lacks the necessary criteria to make an accurate identification of a suspect, vehicle or other object.

Exemplar Sample Comparison Testing

Sometimes it becomes necessary to create an exemplar recording (known recording) to analyze and compare against the evidence recording (unknown recording). In order to create an exemplar accurately, you must determine the type of equipment (camera) that created the original digital image.  Then you can obtain or gain access to that equipment and create test sample for analysis. This is the most accurate way to confirm the authenticity of the digital image, if the original evidence is unavailable.

Expert Witness Testimony

If the authentication investigation needs to be presented in a court of law, an expert can help. Helping the tier of fact to understand the scientific analysis in a simple way is important to our experts.

Our experts can generate a formalized report outlining our qualifications, authentication methodology and opinions. This assists the trier of fact make determinations about the images used as evidence. When we prepare for testimony, we anticipate all questions that will be asked of us during direct and cross examination.

Our expert has experience testifying as an image expert witness.  He has testified in local and state courts all over the USA and worked with lawyers around the world.

 To learn a more in depth understanding of the Digital Image Authentication investigation click HERE.