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Reuters offers tech to trust citizen journos' photos

Reuters, Adobe, Canon are working on technology to help track changes made to digital photos--a trustworthiness requirement to prevent doctored photos in an age where ordinary people supply pictures to news agencies.

News organization Reuters is working with photo editing powerhouse Adobe and camera maker Canon so changes to digital photos can be detected, last week.

Reuters, the news agency whose image was tarnished earlier this year when a freelance photographer provided , wants to ensure such changes can be found.

"I am pleased to announce today that we are working with Adobe and Canon to create a solution that enables photo editors to view an audit trail of changes to a digital image, which is permanently embedded in the photograph, ensuring the accuracy of the image," Glocer said in the blog posting, a transcript of a December 11 speech at the Globes Media Conference in Tel Aviv.

"We sought a technical solution so that we had total and full transparency of our work. It's what we stand for. It's what we've always stood for. And we hope that it will provide reassurance to editors and consumers of our services," he said. "Transparency and truth are important to us."

The issue of trust is increasingly important in a "citizen journalism" world where the ordinary public, not just news professionals, supply content, he said.

"What does the future look like in a world in which the consumer has taken over the printing press, the dark room, the television studio? What does the result of a mashup of professional and "amateur" actually look like? And more importantly--is trust the victim in a world of millions of news sources--will we live in a world where truth is passed through a sieve of opinion and commentary?"

It's not an academic issue for Reuters. Earlier in December, it announced a deal with Yahoo in which people who post photos to the Flickr photo-sharing site, can tag their shots and submit them to Reuters.