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Sony is fighting fake photos with a digital birth certificate

Sony's new image authentication tech for Alpha cameras will be available next year, but we've still got questions.
By
November 23, 2023
ces 2023 sony logo angled
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Sony has announced that a so-called birth certificate for photos is coming to its cameras.
  • This will verify that pictures were indeed captured on its Alpha cameras.

Fake imagery is a serious problem today, as edited or completely fabricated pictures frequently get passed around in the name of misinformation and hoaxes. Now, Sony has announced that a new image authentication technology is coming to its cameras in 2024.

The company revealed that it’s completed a second round of testing its in-camera authentication tech with the Associated Press (AP). This solution is used to verify that images were indeed captured on its cameras.

“This in-camera digital signature allows for the creation of a birth certificate for images, validating the origin of the content,” Sony explained, adding that the signature was made at the “moment of capture” inside the camera’s chipset.

Sony says this digital signature feature as well as authentication via the C2PA body is coming via a firmware update to the Alpha 9 III, Alpha 1, and Alpha 7S III cameras in Spring 2024.

What to expect from this tech?

We’re glad to see Sony adopting this technology in its cameras, although there are still a couple of unanswered questions here. Sony and AP specifically used the Photo Mechanics app as part of their testing. However, we’re keen to know whether typical PC users will be able to see these digital signatures without the aid of an app. An app requirement would complicate matters, particularly for everyday users who simply want to figure out whether that shared image doing the rounds was real.

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We’ve also asked Sony whether this new image authentication technology could come to its Xperia smartphones. This would be especially handy seeing that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which is expected to power Sony’s 2024 flagship phones, will offer extensive support for generative AI capabilities. In fact, the new processor also supports TruPic image authentication tech, but it’s not making this solution mandatory for smartphone makers.

We posed the aforementioned concerns to Sony and will update the article accordingly. Nevertheless, we hope to see more device manufacturers implement image authentication tech as generative AI gains steam.