European authorities discuss the possibility of implementing DRM protection in JPEG images

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    The possibility of adding ubiquitous DRM protection to JPEG images was discussed this week in Brussels. If before the manufacturer prevented the printing or processing of images of cash and secure documents from the software level, now a proposal has been put forward to use DRM protection at the level of individual files, reports eff.org .

    JPEG DRM is not new. Professional version of this format, JPEG 2000already has an extension called DRM JPSEC. But the use of JPEG 2000 is limited to certain professional and highly specialized fields, such as radiography, television, film production and archiving. For this reason, the use of DRM in JPEG 2000 did not affect images on the web, where the JPEG format remains dominant, that is, bypassed the masses. Now, the “JPEG Privacy and Security group” is considering the option of introducing DRM into existing JPEG images, so to speak, retroactively. Such a decision can lead to disastrous consequences for the modern web.

    The EFF team took part in a group meeting in Brussels to explain to committee members why embedding DRM in JPEG images is a bad idea. EFF Presentationexplained that such protection should not be trusted, and that DRM may violate the legitimate rights of users, such as fair use and citation, by prevailing over them in favor of copyright. Also, the use of DRM increases legal risks for users and complicates standardization. Among other things, DRM-protected products are less popular among users.

    However, all this does not put an end to the cryptography of JPEG images. There are times when the use of such protection will be justified. For example, the use of a digital signature on images containing private information or personal data. Using encryption allows you to configure the visibility policy of images for different user groups. For example, photos in from social. networks will be available only to those people whom you indicated as your friends.

    Some social networks like Facebook and Twitter already clear image metadata.so as not to disseminate confidential user information. However, they also delete all information that may indicate copyright and licensing. This is what prompted lawmakers to consider introducing DRM protection, which would prevent the removal of image metadata and, accordingly, information about the license and the author.

    The best solution in this situation would be to create a mechanism that would give users more freedom and allow them to make their own decisions about whether to clear image metadata or not, and if to clear, on what scale.

    The committee on this issue is urged to continue to use the open standard Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), as well as to not to introduce DRM protection in JPEG images.

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