A Tool to Verify Digital Records, Even as Technology Shifts





Simple-to-use digital technology will make it more difficult to distort history in the future.

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 videos, transcripts of personal accounts and court records can be indisputably proved for the first time.


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