Sony and Associated Press on a mission to tackle fake images with in-camera authentication

Sony A9 III, Sony A1 and Sony A7S III against a white background
Sony A9 III, Sony A1, and the Sony A7S III will get Sony's in-camera signature and C2PA authentication early next year (Image credit: Sony)

To tackle the rising wave of manipulated imagery in photojournalism, Sony has just announced a successful second round of testing for its in-camera authenticity technology in collaboration with the Associated Press (AP). You can think of the digital in-camera signature like a birth certificate for photos proving their validity. 

As AI becomes more realistic and harder to distinguish from real life, it’s becoming necessary to have technology in place that can validate an image. Sony's authenticity technology introduces a machine-based digital signature, removing the opportunity for undetected manipulation from the moment a photo is taken. This digital signature is embedded within the camera's hardware chipset at the exact moment of capture, ensuring the integrity of the image. It ensures professional photojournalists can safeguard their image and allows news agencies to be sure the images they are sharing have not been altered using AI.

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The month-long second round of testing was completed in October 2023 and marked a significant milestone in the collaboration between Sony and AP. Sony partnered with Camera Bits, the company behind the industry-standard workflow tool Photo Mechanic, to ensure that the camera's digital signature remains intact throughout the metadata editing process.

Yann Salmon Legagneur, Marketing Director, Imaging and Product Solutions, Sony Europe, expressed the need for such technology in the current landscape, stating, "While the rapid evolution of generative AI brings new possibilities for creative expression, it has also led to growing concern about the impact of altered or manipulated imagery in journalism." 

Fake and manipulated images contribute to mis and disinformation as AP’s director of photography David Ake pointed out. It is hoped this new technology will solidify people’s trust in news outlets while simultaneously eradicating the potential for sharing fake images. 

The upcoming release of Sony's in-camera signature and C2PA authentication is planned for a firmware update for the newly announced Sony A9 III, Sony A1, and the Sony A7S III. The firmware update is due early next year. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.