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Consumer Reports WebWatch on Image Integrity

Manipulated model

Manipulated model.

Working with Consumer Reports WebWatch I have authored a downloadable report that attempts to help the Web viewer understand and interpret the different kinds of digital imagery that appear online (retouched, computer-generated, staged, etc. It also deals with the standards that many journalistic publications use in deciding how far to go in their manipulations, as well as issues of intellectual property and privacy. Since there is no accepted societal standard as to what is fair and appropriate use of imagery (how much can a photograph be manipulated by software, for example), the attempt here is to help the Web reader gain a sense of some of the underlying issues relating to published imagery. Just as Consumer Reports helps people understand what the issues are when evaluating automobiles or refrigerators, the idea here is also to make it more difficult for a reader to be misled.

The report is announced today on the home screen of Consumer Reports WebWatch. One can also see a write-up on their blog. I want to thank Beau Brendler and Jorgen Wouters of WebWatch, two extraordinarily dedicated individuals who care enormously about protecting the consumer, for their insightful and patient collaboration on this project. I only hope that it brings some illumination to the murky arena of digital imagery.

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