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Company Says It’s Created Digital Fingerprint For Online Photos

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – We’ve learned recently from celebrities that you don’t have to email, text or post photos online to have them stolen. In many cases, they can simply be taken out of your phone. But a Collin County company is promoting a way to make photos harder to steal.

With hundreds of photos stored on her iPhone, Plano resident Courtney Key doesn’t like to think about strangers looking at them.

“I’m only 24. Things that I took pictures of five or 10 years ago I wasn’t thinking about, so it’s terrifying,” she said.

The hacking scandal that involves some high profile celebrities raises concern about the security of the iCloud and wireless data storage.

Key said, “You would think that anything you take on your phone is your private picture. If you delete it should be gone, but with the Cloud apparently it’s not gone.”

Mitch Butler owns Image Vision a company in Anna that has developed, what he says, is a better digital signature on photos. He says the signature isn’t much different than the hidden computer language in the movie The Matrix.

Butler claims that, “When an image is changed at the pixel level we can detect that.”

It’s a code invisible to the eye but unique to the camera that took it. A code as individual as human fingerprints and the marks on bullets fired from a gun.

“We can trace a picture to an actual camera source,” Butler said.

Workers at Image Vision told CBS 11 News they’d been in touch with Apple and other high-tech giants about using the code to track down hackers, because the code leaves a trail when it’s copied.

Butler gave an example of how police and companies would benefit from his service. “From image ballistics lets say there are suspects and they are brought in and you have access to their camera devices and smartphones and what they used to be able to hack that’s another security play.”

Image Vision says internet providers and websites can also use their digital code to flag stolen photos and offer at least some level of security.

The bottom line is, everyone should keep in mind that photos taken on a wireless device are not as private as might think.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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