JPEG Looking To Add DRM To Images... Supposedly To Protect Images From Gov't Surveillance

from the png,-here-we-come dept

You may recall the mess a few years ago when, under pressure from the movie studios, along with Netflix and Microsoft, the W3C agreed to add DRM to HTML5. This resulted in lots of debates and reasonable anger from people who found that the idea of building DRM into HTML5 went against the idea of an open internet. And, now it appears that the organization behind the JPEG standard for images is heading down a similar path.
The JPEG committee investigates solutions to assure privacy and security when sharing photos on social networks, (stock) photography databases, etc. JPEG Privacy & Security will provide new functionality to JPEG encoded images such as ensuring privacy, maintaining data integrity, and protecting intellectual rights, while maintaining backwards and forward compatibility to existing JPEG legacy solutions.
Further details suggest DRM that has all sorts of conditions included:
What's interesting is that some are claiming this is based on this research paper that pitches such DRM for the purpose of protecting images from surveillance and such:
— With the popularization of online social networks (OSNs) and smart mobile devices, photo sharing is becoming a part of people’ daily life. An unprecedented number of photos are being uploaded and shared everyday through online social networks or photo hosting services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr. However, such unrestrained online photo or multimedia sharing has raised serious privacy concerns, especially after reports of citizens surveillance by governmental agencies and scandalous leakage of private photos from prominent photo sharing sites or online cloud services. Popular OSNs typically offer privacy protection solutions only in response to the public demand and therefore are often rudimental, complex to use, and provide limited degree of control and protection. Most solutions allow users to control either who can access the shared photos or for how long they can be accessed. In contrast, in this paper, we take a structured privacy by design approach to the problem of online photo privacy protection. We propose a privacy-preserving photo sharing architecture based on a secure JPEG scrambling algorithm capable of protecting the privacy of multiple users involved in a photo. We demonstrate the proposed photo sharing architecture with a prototype application called ProShare that offers JPEG scrambling as the privacy protection tool for selected regions in a photo, secure access to the protected images, and secure photo sharing on Facebook.
Now that's definitely interesting, but it still raises some concerns about whether such DRM would actually be used to protect an individual's privacy or (much more likely) to try to limit public use of images for other reasons, such as trying to set up tollbooths on use (even fair use). I also wonder how effective any image-based DRM can really be in the longterm, given the ease of simply screenshotting an image to make a copy.

Filed Under: control, drm, images, jpeg, surveillance


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 11:44am

    "I also wonder how effective any image-based DRM can really be in the longterm, given the ease of simply screenshotting an image to make a copy."

    I wonder if they will now moan and whine about keyboards having a "PrtScr" button is facilitating copyright infringement and that the removal of this button is absolutely necessary to combat image piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:38pm

      Re:

      No! We'll just make keyboard manufacturers liable for the infringement. Genius!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:52pm

      Re:

      I have so many pre-ban keyboards that I can sell...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 2:12pm

      Re:

      The key is to protect the image at the source, before the photograph is ever taken.

      Wikipedia: Dazzle camouflage

      It worked for ships in WWI and WWII. It's used today, to camouflage "next year's model" cars during testing. I propose that we apply it elsewhere.

      An architect wants to forbid people to take pictures of his building? Cover it in dazzle camouflage except during approved photo sessions.

      A sculptor wants to forbid people to take pictures of his sculpture? Dazzle camouflage.

      Donald Trump wants control of how images of him are used? He should only appear in public in dazzle camouflage makeup.

      DRM at the source. It's the only way.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ottermaton (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 11:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Donald Trump ... should only appear in public in dazzle camouflage makeup.

        I thought that hair already was dazzle.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 16 Jul 2015 @ 7:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The hair has been trying to get more attention. It's seeking medical help in removing an old, racist from it's butt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:

        So you're saying if I dazzle my dick picks, they won't show up all over the internet?

        Sold!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 17 Jul 2015 @ 8:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or they might be mistaken for Donald Trump.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2015 @ 3:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2015 @ 4:20pm

            Re: Re:
            So you're saying if I dazzle my dick picks, they won't show up all over the internet?

            Roger Strong (profile), Jul 17th, 2015 @ 8:29am

            Re: Re: Re:
            Or they might be mistaken for Donald Trump.

            Have I got it right?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 11:57am

    You can always implement something that will fool, block the old print screen. I fail to see how this will work and even if it does they fail to see it will be promptly cracked. So, yay for resources and money wasting?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ottermaton (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 11:05pm

      Re:

      You can always implement something that will fool, block the old print screen

      For example? I'm serious. I'd really like to know.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 5:43am

        Re: Re:

        I've had print screen return a blank image before but I honestly can't remember where. Now I'm curious whether it was some bug or some 'drm' in the software, I'm gonna check for the possibility.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's overlays. Things like hardware-accelerated video decoding are usually done by putting a "chroma key" colored rectangle (usually almost but not quite black or purple), and mixing it with the decoded video in hardware. The PrintScreen key only captures the software-drawn portion, so it will not capture the video output.

          The same thing can happen for hardware-accelerated mouse cursors and opengl/directx output.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 2:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Depends on what print screen software you use. Most read the data directly out of the video buffer. It's hard to see how that can be stopped without some drastic hardware and software changes (and breaking compatibility with a lot of existing software).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 5:38am

      Re:

      "You can always implement something that will fool, block the old print screen"

      Maybe, depending on how the stock print screen is implemented. However, it's trivial to develop a print screen function that can't be fooled or blocked.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:12pm

    So in other words one of two things will happen to images with DRM.

    1) Everyone will hit print screen to take a screenshot of it, and save it in some other format without DRM.

    or

    2) Because no can view the DRMed image without paying first, everyone will just say "screw that" and hit the "go back one page" button on their browser.

    Seriously now, videos have some value to them, just look at TV. But a single image? Even if it's a picture of a valuable painting you'll just be paying for a DRMed copy of an picture of the painting, which has no monetary value.

    Web pages and videos can have value, but not a single image.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      andy, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      I have already blocked a few websites for having paywalls so i don't occidentally click on a link to them and if sites start doing this, even if it is just one or two images that i have not clicked to specifically see i will block those websites, there are more than enough websites doing the same thing to find one without drm, and those that use drm will lose, especially when nobody is interested in creating a simple add on to overcome their restrictive drm.

      Websites will lose out on visitors and lose income and that is good as most websites that are worth using have very little advertising or advertising that does not distract.

      I read something a few years ago that html5 will be more secure for users and hopefully it will be easier for the hackers to create a few add ons that not only release drm and region blocks as now but also enable everyone to have an add on or two that completely hides our identities.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rick Battle, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:29pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jul 15th, 2015 @ 12:12pm

      I'm fairly certain every photographer on the planet vehemently disagrees with you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 6:52pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jul 15th, 2015 @ 12:12pm

        This photographer doesn't "vehemently disagree".

        Oh..you mean professional photographers?

        People whose income depends on particular laws always seem to oppose rule changes that would hurt their income.

        Funny coincidence, that. For example, professional slave traders really opposed abolition.

        The fact that interested parties have a given opinion doesn't mean much in terms of right or wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

      Every single viewing of a jpg **ever** is a lost sale of a multi-million dollar masterpiece.... /sarc

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:26pm

    Good. It will only accelerate the move to .webp.

    So bring it on, JPEG!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scott Yates (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:49pm

      Or .PNG maybe? Since it is already widespread and handles transparency.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jeremy2020 (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:16pm

        Re:

        I'm down for jpg being replaced with png

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 15 Jul 2015 @ 10:37pm

        Re:

        Or .PNG maybe? Since it is already widespread and handles transparency.

        PNG will never replace JPEG for the simple fact that it doesn't compress as well.

        Don't get me wrong, PNG is the natural choice for a lossless image format, but for storing large images, JPEG is the winner.

        A 2.5MB JPEG image easily becomes 8MB when converted to PNG. That might not sound like much when talking about a single image, but take all the space currently occupied by JPEGs and multiply it by three.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:39pm

    Wow.

    Well, that's one way to bring Lynx back into usage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 12:44pm

    There is only one logical end to the arms race: in order to use a computer you'll need to insert your ID card.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      That assumes that everyone agrees on one DRM standard, with one ID card authority having the sole right to collect fees for its use. Which will never happen.

      Instead you'd have a collection of competing ID card services, each with exclusive content deals. Region-locked of course. You'd have a stack of ID cards, and probably multiple card readers to handle different standards.

      It'll bring back memories of swapping floppy discs for each app and document on Apple II and Commodore computers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 6:29am

      Re:

      Please explain the logic behind such a draconian move.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      That might be a good thing. Computers are power tools, and there are far too many morons currently using them with no clue about how to do so safely. There ought to be a computer license, just like a driver's license.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:05pm

    Enjoying the irony

    The embedded summary of the JPEG Privacy and Security feature set is rife with JPEG compression artifacts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:30pm

    Perfect 10 must be jiggling with joy over this news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:48pm

    Screenshots

    Of course, the DRM software will only open the image on devices that support DRM and prevent such screenshots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 6:12pm

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 15 Jul 2015 @ 9:17pm

    Will DRM Built Into Your Computer be the Next Step?

    I also wonder how effective any image-based DRM can really be in the longterm, given the ease of simply screenshotting an image to make a copy.
    Obviously then the next step would be to embed DRM software in computer operating systems to ensure that such screenshots could not be taken.

    (Which, BTW, to an extent is what one OS--Apple OS X--already does, albeit it in a limited way with some of its versions of OS X. Apple's built-in screenshot capability won't let you take screenshots of its DVD player window/screen. You can, however, bypass that limitation using third party screenshot tools.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 15 Jul 2015 @ 10:42pm

      Re: Will DRM Built Into Your Computer be the Next Step?

      Obviously then the next step would be to embed DRM software in computer operating systems to ensure that such screenshots could not be taken.

      That's exactly the kind of thing that "Trusted Computing" and the "Trusted Platform Module" are designed to implement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JohnHalo, 15 Jul 2015 @ 10:04pm

    It's VHS vs BETA again

    The only thing you'll accomplish is to make JPG an unused file type.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 10:59pm

    under pressure from the movie studios, along with Netflix and Microsoft, the W3C agreed to add DRM to HTML5.

    Can't remember what exactly it was that they could hold over the W3C to make them budge?

    @Mike
    JPGs are for photos, if you want to make screenshots of text, simply use PNG, the file will be smaller and have no artifacts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 12:23am

    They must have never heard of screen shots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 16 Jul 2015 @ 7:30am

    I also wonder how effective any image-based DRM can really be in the longterm, given the ease of simply screenshotting an image to make a copy.

    Well we know that, so...

    ...how long will it be till they cry "Pirate!" and let slip the dogs of war? The idea is, circumventing the DRM would be taken as proof of deliberate infringement, or something.

    This is another step in the consolidation of copyright as property; there's not going to be an expiry date built into this DRM, is there?

    I thought not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob Saget, 16 Jul 2015 @ 1:46pm

    Pointless

    This conversation about protection from Print Screen/Screenshots is pointless. I can just hold up my phone and take a picture. Boom, now it is saved using my DRM or without DRM at all. Software protection didn't save SnapChat users, why would it save this? Same thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 2:49pm

    This is an excellent reason

    This is an excellent reason to complete the abandonment of the jpeg format for png.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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