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A New Technique to Protect Photographers from Persecution

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Published on Tuesday, 09 August 2011

Scientists at the University of Luxembourg have developed a new technique that may help photographers protect their anonymity.

This idea came from Prof. Shishir Nagaraja, professor for IT Security at the Institute for Information Technology in Delhi (IIIT), after seeing how public authorities had used pictures of demonstrations to hunt down those people that had been carrying cameras. The security researcher Péter Schaffer and imaging expert Djamila Aouada of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg then developed, in cooperation with Prof. Nagaraja, a new technique that will make location detection of a photographer considerably more difficult.

In a next step, this technique could be implemented into cameras, and used to merge several pictures taken from the camera at different angles into a new picture. „We can thus generate a realistic picture of arbitrary view angle that will hide the photographer’s original location“, Hungarian Péter Schaffer explains. The great interest that the scientists have received towards their work, confirms what they see as the launch of cutting-edge research in the intersection of computer vision and privacy, says Schaffer.

Such a research field is a great challenge because of its interdisciplinary aspect, says Algerian Djamila Aouada, but at the same time very exciting. The title of the project is „Imaging Privacy“ and it is funded by the SnT.