Eagle: An OpenID for Digital Cameras

tool list is Eagle, a server side program we developed which is used to identify the specific camera used when an photograph is uploaded to our server. I am not referring to being able to identify which model camera an image came from (something anyone can easily extract from the EXIF data).

I am referring to identifying a specific camera.

Every camera in the world is unique, even digital cameras. Microscopic imperfections in the makeup of various camera parts leave each camera on an assembly line with a subtle, but completely unique "fingerprint" that is passed onto every image a camera takes. You just need to know how to extract it.

Because of the existence of this fingerprint, we realized that we could allow our members to upload a library of stock photography and actually prove that they owned the cameras used to take the images. In other words, we could establish and validate a base on our ownership chain, right from the raw unedited images uploaded to our system.

We view photographers as an extremely important part of our planned ecosystem - possibly the most important - as they are the verified source providers that others will edit their images from (or use those images in books, magazines, etc...).

Beyond the technical workings of the software we developed, the process is fairly simple: Photographers who want to become photo providers and sell their images in our market as verified works will need to register their cameras with us.

Registering a camera is a simple two step process.

1) Photographers upload some raw unedited images taken from their camera to us. Eagle then extracts and stores a fingerprint for that camera.

2) As a safety precaution, photographers are also assigned to take some control pictures of different random subjects with the same camera. Once taken and uploaded, we manually verify (by human) that the images have the requested subjects in them.

The second step prevents a plagiarist from registering another person's camera by just going to Flickr and downloading a bunch of their works.

We do plan on releasing a separate API for Eagle, one we hope will be used by webmasters of many photo sharing websites online to help prove ownership and combat plagiarism. We hope that Eagle will become the OpenID of digital cameras and help everyone prove the authenticity of their works across the web.]]