Summary: January 27, 2009
A Tool to Verify Digital Records, Even as
By JOHN MARKOFF
Simple-to-use digital technology will make it more difficult to distort history in
On Tuesday a group of researchers at the University of Washington are releasing
the initial component of a public system to provide authentication for an archive
of video interviews with the prosecutors and other members of the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. The group will also release the first
portion of the Rwandan archive.
This system is intended to be available for future use in digitally preserving and
authenticating first-hand accounts of war crimes, atrocities and genocide.
Such tools are of vital importance because it has become possible to alter digital
text, video and audio in ways that are virtually undetectable to the unaided
human eye and ear.
The researchers said history was filled with incidents of doctoring, deleting or
denying written records. Now, they say, the authenticity of digital documents like