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The Courts Government Graphics Software News

Graphics Advances Make Identifying Real Images Difficult 531

destinyland writes "The FBI's geeks admitted they were nervous over computer-generated images at a recent forensics conference. In court they're now arguing that a jury 'can tell' if an image is real or computer-generated — which marks the current boundary between legal and illegal. But reporter Debbie Nathan argues that that distinction is getting fuzzy, and that geeks will inevitably make it obsolete." Note: some of the linked (computer-generated) images may be disturbing.
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Graphics Advances Make Identifying Real Images Difficult

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  • by mariushm ( 1022195 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:21AM (#23680949)

    Here's a coral cache link for the 1st site:

    Click me []

    The last one won't work at all

  • Re:So SFW, or NSFW? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mdmkolbe ( 944892 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:36AM (#23681127)

    The 10 Zen Monkeys is SFW. The only thing that could be objected to is the headline "Is It Legal Porn or Illegal Porn?" which is to say not very objectionable at all.

    The other one contains "G-rated" images according to the link to it from the 10 Zen Monkeys article.

  • Re:with that tagline (Score:5, Informative)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:39AM (#23681149)
    A computer generated baby (clothed ;-) []

    I couldn't get the rest of the images into the Corel Cache before the server went down completely.

    Here's the text from the blog post:

    Child porn: real or virtual? A day in the burbs and the forensics conference


    To go right to the real or virtual article, skip all the emo in italics. I wont be offended!

    A funny thing happened to me this weekend in Huntington, Long Island. Iâ(TM)d taken a commuter train there from Manhattan, to interview someone in a neighborhood thatâ(TM)s walking distance from the local railroad station. (In case youre wondering why I havent posted lately, Im really busy with other work these days. Why else would I go to Huntington?) So I was hoofing it down New York Avenue when a cabbie screeched up and offered me a ride â" for free. âoeThanks,â I said, leaning into his window. âoeBut why?â âoeBecause you have to pass the day-labor site. Thereâ(TM)s lots of men there from Central America. They yell bad words to women going by.â

    Iâ(TM)m 57 years old and slowly shrinking, maybe, but people seldom mistake me for a shrinking violet. I can deal with a few catcalls and âoeMamiâ(TM)sâ (assuming my wrinkled old self could evoke them in the first place). I tried to elucidate my philosophy to the driver: Itâ(TM)s always worth a few bad words to learn about stuff â" then communicate the stuff to others.

    Well lah-dee-dah, youâ(TM)re probably saying. Nice story, but whatâ(TM)s the point? Especially when the real subject of this post isChild Porn®.

    So hereâ(TM)s the point. Lately, when it comes to writing about child pornography issues, I suspect Iâ(TM)ve caught Huntingtonâ(TM)s Taxi Disease from my colleagues in the journalism biz. I notice that whenever I get an urge to report on the subject, I start worrying that if I publish it, Iâ(TM)ll hear âoebad wordsâ from people from âoeCentral-Weirdo Americaâ â" people who actually like child porn. Iâ(TM)ll have to read their emails (some of which make interesting points about free speech, the fourth amendment, government repression, etc.), then decide whether or not to post them. And if I post, the journos of MSM-villeâ"my colleagues! might look askance. After all, some have already told me that they, themselves, will not write about child pornography for precisely this reason: it freaks them out to get follow-up email from the pedos.

    Iâ(TM)m also afraid my colleagues will tsk-tsk about why I write about this icky subject in the first place. âoeIs she obsessed or something?â they could be thinking. Perhaps they ask why I donâ(TM)t insert boiler plate into the first paragraphs of my articles. Riffs like, âoeOf course, child porn is the most horrible thing in the world, and the people involved deserve strong punishment.â This is supposed to show everyone the writer is a normal person who does not want to hear from pedos. I try to avoid such verbiage because I think itâ(TM)s knee jerk and stupid. Besides, Iâ(TM)m extremely reluctant to close off communication with anyone. I get some of my best tips about the malfunctioning of our various civic institutions from people close to those institutions â" who are often criminals, both apprehended and as yet uncaught. ( []">M is still one of my favorite movies.)

    I went to a conference a couple months ago where law enforcement officials gave fascinating presentations

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:41AM (#23681191) Journal
    Sure do.
    On video games:
    From here []:

    WASHINGTON - Playing violent video games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D or Mortal Kombat can increase a person's aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in laboratory settings and in actual life, according to two studies appearing in the April issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Furthermore, violent video games may be more harmful than violent television and movies because they are interactive, very engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor, say the researchers.
    Of course, these are psychologists, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm sure that /dotters know more about the human psyche than these guys.

    I'm afraid you'll have to do your own googling for pornography and rape or whatever as I'm at work and don't want "Porno" showing up on my google search list on the our proxy servers.

    Of course, you will find many articles showing both sides, so take with a grain of salt.

    Disclaimer: I like porn and violent video games as much as the next guy, but there is research that shows that it does have negative consequences to the weak minded.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Friday June 06, 2008 @09:41AM (#23681193) Homepage Journal

    So they cut out the possibility of an innocent person and make virtual images mean the same thing in the eyes of the law as the real deal.

    Read what I wrote. Then go back and RTFA.

    Let's say I take a picture of you. Then, I work some magic on the picture and combine it with a naked child.

    Then I use a trojan or other malware to put the photo on your laptop.

    Then I suggest to the police that you may be carrying child pr0n on your laptop, that's why you fly to China every month.

    At the airport, DHS searches your laptop and finds the picture.

    That clear enough for you?
  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:01AM (#23681449) Journal
    If I supply a link, will you change your mind? I doubt it, but here [] it is anyway. Of course, it is one of many. You know, it took me about 2 minutes to find this on Google. Rather than speaking from your ass, you could do a little research on your own.

    The present study examined exposure to and use of pornography in the familial, developmental and criminal histories of 38 rapists and 26 child molesters incarcerated at the Massachusetts Treatment Center. While both groups reported similar exposure to pornography in the home and during development, child molesters indicated significantly more exposure than rapists in adulthood and were significantly more likely both to use such materials prior to and during their offenses and to employ pornography to relieve an impulse to act out. The findings are discussed with regards to the "catharsis hypothesis" and the role of pornography in the commission of sexual offenses for certain types of rapists and child molesters.
    Of course, there is a causation/correlation argument that could be made here, but to someone with tendencies already, this may push them over the edge whereas they may have lived a normal life without it.

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:41AM (#23681949) Journal

    Or, to put it another way, this study doesn't in any establish a causal link between pornographic exposure and child molestation, nor does even hint at your suggestion that a lack of exposure to child pornography might prevent a person from acting on their sexual desires for child.
    This study [] does:

    Photographs, videos, magazines, virtual games, and Internet pornography that depict rape and the dehumanization of females in sexual scenes constitute powerful but deforming tools of sex education. The danger to children stems at least partly from the disturbing changes in attitude that are facilitated by pornography. Replicated studiesx have demonstrated that exposure to significant amounts of increasingly graphic forms of pornography has a dramatic effect on how adult consumers view women, sexual abuse, sexual relationships, and sex in general. These studies are virtually unanimous in their conclusions: When male subjects were exposed to as little as six weeks' worth of standard hard-core pornography, they:

            * developed an increased sexual callousness toward women

            * began to trivialize rape as a criminal offense or no longer considered it a crime at all

            * developed distorted perceptions about sexuality

            * developed an appetite for more deviant, bizarre, or violent types of pornography (normal sex no longer seemed to do the job)

            * devalued the importance of monogamy and lacked confidence in marriage as either a viable or lasting institution

            * viewed nonmonogamous relationships as normal and natural behaviorxi
    the actual study is Baron, Larry; Straus, Murray. (1984). Sexual stratification, pornography, and rape in the United States. In Neil Malamuth and Edward Donnerstein (Eds.), Pornography and Sexual Aggression (pp. 185-209). New York: Academic Press. (can't find on web)

    And here []
  • by ya really ( 1257084 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#23682097)

    The cameras weren't as good then, so it would have been harder to tell a photo of a model from a photo of a painting of the model. The cameras were not in color. Nobody expected a photo of a painting to be anything but a photo.

    I have to beg to differ on this:

    1861: The first known permanent color photograph is taken by James Clerk Maxwell [] Check out the link for excellent examples of early color photography as well

    Some of these color photos look like they could have been taken in the past couple of decades, but this one was from nearly 100 years ago and in full color: []

  • Watermarking (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aqualung812 ( 959532 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:52AM (#23682103)
    I have used digital surveillance cameras at two jobs now. Both systems I used had a hidden watermark embedded into the files.
    If you exported a .jpeg, you would break the evidence chain since it didn't have the software to validate it. It is fine for giving to the newspapers to try to catch the bad guy, but when it comes to putting them in court, you would always need to export the video wrapped in a .exe that included the player. Then the software company could prove that the video was unaltered from the time it was taken.
  • by Darth Maul ( 19860 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @11:10AM (#23682353) Homepage

    1) In a jury you follow the rule of law. According to the law, he was guilty.

    2) The images were manufactured. They included real faces of his daughters and kids on his soccer team that he coached. These were just as damaging as any other "child porn" you can think of.

    3) If I'm a "part of the problem" then I don't want to know *your* solution!

  • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:07PM (#23683145) Journal

    The quote you provide is a summary. It is not the actual study. Not to mention that the methodology of the studies cited are completely missing. And without the methodology, it is impossible to judge the quality of the study.

    Sorry, try again. I'll look for the studies mentioned, but so far, I still have squat.
    Here [] is one study (PDF Warning). However, it's a study that shows that there is evidence that supports both sides, and there is. Also keep in mind that many of these studies were published on printed paper rather than digital HTML format.

    If you can't find the actual articles listed in the reference page from this article [], then I suggest you google the author's names and/or the title of the publication.

  • by DeanFox ( 729620 ) * <spam.myname@ g m a> on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:12PM (#23683219)

    1) In a jury you follow the rule of law. According to the law, he was guilty.
    No. The fist job of a jury is to determine if the law is just (jury nullification). Then you find if the defendant did something wrong enough to be punished.

  • by jeaton ( 44965 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @12:20PM (#23683345)

    1) In a jury you follow the rule of law. According to the law, he was guilty. []
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday June 06, 2008 @05:57PM (#23688165)
    Alright, I did some digging and found the full text behind one of the citations in your original link on []. In order to find this, I had to dig through countless pro-family, anti-sex-ed and bible sites that were referring to it, but never showed the entire article. It's the type of study that's often referenced, as its conclusion is unequivocally anti-porn.

    Here's what I found: it's actually not a study, it's an essay. Its main protagonists are single children who committed sexual crimes. There is no study, merely a description of the circumstances of certain sexual crimes, with some generalizations derived from them. Every single time I found myself asking whether the addiction or even exposure to porn caused the crime, as opposed to merely putting context to existing desires, I was left without an answer.

    Here's something else I noticed: actual studies were far more circumspect in their conclusions. The closest thing I've seen to the argument that porn desensitizes is references to H.J. Eysenck's study, which is quoted as saying that people can move from soft porn to more deviant and violent porn. Note the qualifier "can" - not "will".

    In short, even after some research based on the links that you provided, I find that it is only essays and anecdotes that support the idea that porn leads to sexual violence. Actual studies are unable to establish that link without significant and serious caveats. As a result, I'm forced to conclude that there is still no evidence that a reduction in the availability of porn will lead to a reduction in sexual crimes.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith