Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have filed for a patent on a method of extracting unique identifying information from digital photos, based on pixel noise. According to the researchers, each camera generates its own digital "fingerprint" based on random variables that occur in the manufacturing process. By comparing multiple images from a single camera, the researchers say they can trace the images back to the specific camera that took the photos. The developers see potential for the method in law enforcement activities, such as tracking down child pornographers and forgers. We hope they're right; certainly, any tools they can use are worth exploring. However, we can't help but wonder whether clever criminals will just be able to run a few Photoshop filters and be able to wipe out any trace of their cam's fingerprint before uploading their pics.
[Via Ars Technica]