The Viridian Design Movement

From: Bruce Sterling []
Subject: Viridian Note 00323:
Viridian Trusted Camera

Key concepts: Viridian imaginary products, cameras, security, Stefan Jones

Attention Conservation Notice: Viridian Imaginary Products are speculative entities that are not commercially available no matter how much you want one.


I'm going here in a couple of hours.

And then I'm going here.

Palladium: quelle horreur!

Linux: even worse and more personally agonizing!

Entries in the Global Civil Society Design Contest.

From: Steven W. Schuldt <swschuldt*>

From: Ben Davis <bend*>

From: Joerg F. Wittenberger <Joerg.Wittenberger*;

From: Scott Vandehey <scot* &qt;

From: Bob Morris <bob*;

From: Anonymous

From: Jim Thompson <jim*;

From: Mike Rosing <eresrch*;
Date: Tue Jul 09, 2002

"Have fun!

"Patience, persistence, truth,
Dr. mike"

This contest expires August 15, 2002.

From: SeJ* (Stefan Jones, Viridian Archbishop)
Date: Tue Jul 09, 2002
To: bruces*
Subject: Viridian Trusted Camera

Trusted computers? Sounds good, but how about trusted photographs?

Picture a camera. A funky, wired, hybrid camera, with two lenses out front, and prisms, splitters, CCDs, and a really special roll of film inside.

Oh, and a satellite uplink. And a GPS unit.

It's a 3D camera, creating stereo pairs. This is good for both witness-to-crime and vetting purposes. A stereo pair allows depth to be measured. It's also quite a bit tougher (though not impossible) to fake or modify a stereo pair.

The film is special. Each can is registered. Each frame (one right and one left per picture) has a little serial number worked right into the emulsion. Between the frames is a little strip of optical recording medium with the adjacent frames' serial numbers pre-recorded. This strip will be attached to the film in a tamper-evident way. It could even generate a flash of light if pulled from the film, ruining the undeveloped photo.

When a picture is snapped, several things happen.

Right and left images are recorded both chemically (on the film) and digitally.

A timestamp and GPS reading are written optically onto the frames, and onto the divider strip.

A lo-res version of each image is also written to the strip. These are used to generate a digital "hash" of the images, a compressed, virtually unique signature. The hash will incorporate the GPS and timestamp and camera serial number.

The hash is recorded optically on each frame, next to the timestamp.

As much information as possible is uploaded via satellite link to several trusted servers. At a minimum, the hash of the frames, the GPS reading, and the timestamp are uploaded. Full-res images might be as well, if time and bandwidth allows.

After a minute of so of processing, the server(s) download a registration number and encoded hash to the camera. It writes these to the divider strip and onto the film. (This means the camera will need to be able to roll the film back and forth, and shut down the Take a Picture function to allow it to write information to frames taken earlier.)

The uploaded images will be somewhat trusted; the better the verification system that can be built into the camera and film can, the more trusted it will be.

The developed negatives will be very trusted. Faking a negative is tough; faking two tougher; faking two that contain all sorts of codes that could only be supplied by a trusted server tougher yet.

Of course, the ultimate problem in this system is human nature. A picture of a popular general personally leading an ethnic cleaning squad won't convince a true believer. Similarly, the veracity of a clumsily airbrushed picture showing an opposition leader in bed with an extinct animal wouldn't be doubted by people hungry for atrocity and scandal.


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