How to Protect video authenticity

There is an old expression — “seeing is believing.”

What happens when we can no longer trust what we see?

Artificial Intelligence and video editing tools have made it possible to manipulate video in a way that completely changes the viewer’s perception.

RigidVid protects the authenticity of videos by automatically detecting if they have been changed or tampered with.

RigidVid focuses on the following business applications:

  • Police body cams
  • Video depositions
  • Video evidence
  • Videos of political figures and candidates
  • Videos of celebrities
  • Public broadcast content

Police Body Cams

Body cameras can help build trust between officers and the communities they serve.

After completing a shift, police submit video footage from their body camera. In most cases video is automatically uploaded to a server where it can then be shared with prosecutors during an investigation.

With RigidVid installed, no changes can be made to the video without detection.

Communities where such cameras are used observe reductions in both use of force and public complaints, while at the same time experiencing double-digit growth in guilty pleas, saving the court system time and money.

While valuable, these police cam videos are not currently protected from manipulation.

In an opinion piece from Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security, warned about body-cam cybersecurity threats.

“The security within these systems needs to be addressed. Information collected on video will be incredibly sensitive, and the impact of a hacker accessing this data could be extraordinary. Imagine a hacker who edits the data to change the identity of an assailant…”

Video Depositions

A deposition is sworn testimony that takes place outside the courtroom to aid attorneys on both sides during the discovery process. This testimony, if captured correctly and protected, can later be used in court.

Originally depositions were recorded and transcribed by stenographers; however, once video cameras become available, attorneys began using video depositions that also capture the appearance, body language, demeanor, and other important non-verbal cues of the witness.

Just as a persuasive performance by a witness can change the course of a trial, so can a video deposition.

The capture of a video deposition is frequently outsourced to small specialty vendors who specialize in this service. The majority of these are small firms that focus on capturing the video itself and are less equipped to provide best-in-class handling of video assets such as end-to-end encryption, information retention/return/destruction policies, and other cyber-security risks.

As such video testimony is subject to manipulation and must be protected.

Videos of political figures and candidates

Experts, lawmakers, and the intelligence community all agree that deepfakes could pose a threat to national security and may be used as part of disinformation campaigns targeting the United States.

The 2016 Presidential election was manipulated by Hackers who spread false information and sought to further divide the public into warring tribes.

More recently, in 2019, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reputation was tarnished when a video emerged where she appeared to slur her words. It was later learned that this video, was manipulated and slowed down. In a CSPAN version of events, a particular sentence took 13 seconds to speak. In the forged video, the same sentence took 17 seconds

The Democratic National Committee wanted to demonstrate the potential threat to the 2020 election posed by deepfake videos. To do so, they created a deepfake featuring the party chairman. The audience was told that DNC Chair Tom Perez was supposed to attend but was unable to, and would instead join via Skype.

The video shown was a fabrication featuring the voice of the DNC Chair. After it concluded, Perez came on screen and apologized for not being in attendance — except that he’d said no such thing.

Video broadcast to the public

One potential problem stemming from deepfakes is a situation where the public doubts what they see on video and in the news. Experts have referred to this as an “information apocalypse,” where the general public views the news with suspicion.

Danielle Citron, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, recently appeared as a witness before Congress to talk about how maliciously altered video could negatively impact our society.

“Imagine the night before a company’s Initial Public Offering, a deepfake video appears showing the CEO committing a crime. If the deepfake video is shared widely, the company’s stock price may falter and a tremendous amount of money may be lost. Of course, the video could be debunked in a few days, but by that time the damage has already been done.”

In short, mainstream media and the broadcast community must take steps to protect the authenticity of video.

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