Adobe, BBC and Microsoft among big names in new standards group to combat disinformation

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Six major organisations, including Adobe, the BBC, and Microsoft, have formed a combined entity to ‘develop an end-to-end, open standard for tracing the origin and evolution of digital content.’

The companies, who also include Arm, Intel and Truepic, are creating the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). The group will look to develop ‘content provenance specifications’ for common asset types and formats, with the goal of enabling publishers, creators and consumers to trace the origin and evolution of a piece of media.

In practical terms, the closest thing to a tangible idea at this stage relates to work Microsoft has previously done with Project Origin, in a project co-led by the BBC. Project Origin’s technical proof of concept aims to establish a chain of trust between publisher and end user:

“The basic idea is that a publsiher of a media file, in this case a video, will cryptographically sign a digital fingerprint of the file at the time of publication,” wrote Eric Horvitz, Microsoft technical fellow and chief scientific officer. “That signature and fingerprint become part of a ledger and a receipt is sent to the publisher. When a consumer views the file, the browser or video player checks the ledger for the manifest and receipt, then displays a signal to the user indicating whether that content is certified.”

The C2PA combines the founding members of Project Origin along with the Adobe-headed Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI). The goal is to unify technical standards while the two entities ‘continue to pursue adoption, prototyping and education within their respective communities.’

“While streams of work on Project Origin and CAI will continue, we’ve formed the C2PA to apply what we’ve learned to generate the technical requirements and standards that will support interoperability of solutions and the wider application of technologies for detecting and thwarting manipulated content,” added Horvitz.

Another member of the Origin Project is the New York Times, who has its own effort in the shape of the News Provenance Project.

Read more: Consumers who rely on social media for news are less informed. Where do we go from here?

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2 comments on “Adobe, BBC and Microsoft among big names in new standards group to combat disinformation

  1. Cyr4x on

    This is the end of free internet, where everyone can publish. What times we live in, that regular communist censorship mechanisms are called “combat with disinformation”.

  2. John on

    The Government’s job is to protect the rights of the Citizens, but Big tech companies have become more powerful than Governments. Many of our Government Officials have been extorted, blackmailed, or bribed, to allow these Big Tech companies to gain total control of our private data, which they then sell off to the highest bidder. The formulation of this Adobe, Microsoft, BBC, + Oligopoly is a deliberate attempt to diminish our First Amendment Rights, our Freedom of Speech.

    I work in the Marijuana Industry, and I’ve seen these regulatory bodies responsible for censorship prevent the truth about cannabis from becoming mainstream for decades. Once the internet became available for private users, it became the most critical piece of infrastructure for spreading the truth about cannabis and its multitude of medical benefits.

    If these big tech companies are able to re-monopolize information, we will recede back into the dark ages. The free marketplace of ideas is what leads to an educated population. Censorship and manipulation of data will only lead towards ignorance, then tyranny.


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