Detecting Fake Photos and Videos to Support National Security

Fake Photos
Associate Professor of Computer Science Siwei Lyu leads the Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lab, which is developing technologies to identify and recover forged digital images and videos. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

The Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lab, under the direction of Associate Professor of Computer Science Siwei Lyu, will partner with software developer Kitware Inc. (Clifton Park, N.Y.), the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, and Dartmouth College to develop technologies to identify and recover forged digital images and videos.

With the exponential advancement of digital cameras, the Internet, and software such as Adobe Photoshop, digital image forgeries have become more prevalent. These doctored images challenge the status of photographs as definitive records of events, especially when images are presented as documentary or legal evidence.

The Department of Defense‘s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Media Forensics (DARPA MediFor) project will support the research and development with multi-million dollar grants in the coming years. Initially, UAlbany will garner $400,000 for the first two-year phase of the project to focus research on digital media forensics for use in national security and defense.

“The recent years have witnessed the quick-fire explosion of doctored images and videos on the Internet, and we are glad to see it has finally caught the attention of the government,” Lyu said. “This project will foster new technologies to detect such digital forgeries and pave the path for a toolkit that can be used by forensic examiners and the general public alike. It is extremely exciting that UAlbany will play an active role in this effort.”

The Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lab is housed within UAlbany’s new College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), the Capital Region’s only public engineering option. Over the course of his career, Lyu has been involved in several ground-breaking research projects related to forensic authentication and analysis of digital images. Learn more about Lyu’s work in digital forensics, or explore CEAS.