Welcome to Izitru, a new photo hosting service that applies image forensic technology to analyze whether an image originates in-camera or is changed substantially by editing means. To get the service’s highest seal of approval an image must pass six forensic tests. You’ll say every digital image today is in some way post-processed. Some, however, are manipulated beyond what’s commonly acceptable in news reporting and journalism. Plagiarism prevails, so Izitru can come in quite handy.
By the time an image makes its way online, it could have been opened and processed in any number of applications, passed through various hands, and been remixed and manipulated. It’s too easy to fake a photo these days. Images are also often scraped and altered, making it incredibly difficult to determine the original creator. That can put editors into a difficult position. Can they trust what they see? Is an image (they’d like to believe is authentic) really authentic?
Izitru, building in an additional trust layer, runs a number of tests that scrutinize the file itself for discrepancies in the data and the characteristics of the camera that took the photo; footprints that editing software may have left; some flaws such as inconsistencies in geometry and lighting that can indicate new material copied into a faked photo.
Izitru is not about determining whether something has been ‘shopped or not. The Izitru website and free iOS app can “distinguish an original JPEG file captured with a digital camera from subsequent derivations of that file that may have been changed in some way,” according to the company.
Izitru won’t necessarily help you figure out if a photo shared on say Facebook is too good to be true, but this service certainly not only helps journalists and social media addicts to determine whether they’re fooled or not, Izitru also could also be useful when people need to send photos to insurance companies, landlords or others who would want to be sure a photo is legitimate.
If you want the real thing, the U.S. company got its commercial start with the $890 Photoshop plugin FourMatch geared for professionals such as law enforcement investigators, ensuring that digital photos used as legal evidence are authentic.