Here’s how investigators can link digital snaps to the photographer’s online identity


Connecting the dots is becoming ever easier when it comes to our digital personae, but here’s a fascinating new way for that to happen: according to EU-funded research, it’s possible to link digital photos to the social media identities of the people who took them. This technique is definitely worth keeping in mind for its privacy implications.

We’ve known since 2006 that digital cameras – from big SLRs down to smartphone snappers — plant unique fingerprints on the images they generate, because of sensor pattern noise (SPN). Unlike the Exif metadata that comes with most digital photos, SPN can’t be stripped, so it’s of great interest to people working in digital forensics.

What’s new, however, is the fact that SPN can provide a link between a photo of interest and the social media account of the person who took it. That’s the lesson we can take from an award-winning paper

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