On Thursday, Leica Camera released the first camera that can take pictures with automatically encrypted metadata and provide features such as an editing history. The company believes this system, called Content Credentials, will help photojournalists protect their work and prove authenticity in a world riddled with AI-manipulated content.
Leica’s M11-P can store each captured image with Content Credentials, which is based on the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity’s (C2PA’s) open standard and is being pushed by the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI). Content Credentials, announced in October, includes encrypted metadata detailing where and when the photo was taken and with what camera and model. It also keeps track of edits and tools used for edits.
When a photographer opts to use the feature, they’ll see a Content Credentials logo in the camera’s display, and images will be signed through the use of an algorithm.
The feature requires the camera to use a specialized chipset for storing digital certificates. Credentials can be verified via Leica’s FOTOS app or on the Content Credentials website.
Leica’s announcement said:
Whenever someone subsequently edits that photo, the changes are recorded to an updated manifest, rebundled with the image, and updated in the Content Credentials database whenever it is reshared on social media. Users who find these images online can click on the CR icon in the [pictures’] corner to pull up all of this historical manifest information as well, providing a clear chain of providence, presumably, all the way back to the original photographer.
The M11-P’s Content Credentials is an opt-in feature and can also be erased. As Ars has previously noted, an image edited with tools that don’t support Content Credentials can also result in a gap in the image’s provenance data.
The effort to track changes in images, especially photos used in journalism, is a pressing concern for regulators and the general public as AI-generated images proliferate. Content Credentials can help instill trust in shared images, but only if it sees notable adoption. Leica’s camera is the first readily available hardware to use the system.
“The Leica M11-P launch will advance the CAI’s goal of empowering photographers everywhere to attach Content Credentials to their images at the point of capture, creating a chain of authenticity from camera to cloud and enabling photographers to maintain a degree of control over their art, story, and context,” the CAI, whose 2,000-member roster includes Leica, Adobe, the Associated Press, Microsoft, and Reuters, said in a blog post Thursday.