Home Lifestyle The electronic seal and signature can effectively combat disinformation and deepfakes

The electronic seal and signature can effectively combat disinformation and deepfakes

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Pope Francis in a fancy jacket, Emmanuel Macron a garbage collector, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel eating ice cream together… Fake news and fake news generated by artificial intelligence are everywhere.

Artificial intelligence solutions such as Medjourney or slab Easy to use to create fake photos and create a need for verification. Even if some details—such as the number of fingers on two hands—sometimes betray these concoctions, the need to separate the wheat from the chaff is essential.

Several screening strategies have been proposed recently: from using a blockchain to store the votes of an informed population to detection by trained AI to find fakes. But these methods have the disadvantage of proving the truth of clichés or information after it has been published.

Deterministic approach to content validation

There is a technology that makes it possible, through a proven encryption process and already existing trust infrastructures (Trust Service Providers or PSCos), to guarantee with certainty the author (or primary broadcaster), release date and integrity of the document (image or article). This is the electronic signature and its cousin the electronic seal.

This approach consists of using electronic signatures or, in the case of a legal entity, stamps (a publisher or news agency for example) to verify the authenticity and integrity of news articles or images.

An electronic signature is a cryptography-based method of digitally signing a document or file to prove that it came from a specific person or organization and has not been altered since it was signed. To do this, various cryptographic and hashing techniques are used to ensure that the signature is unique and cannot be forged.

European regulation edas Since 2014 letter stamp As a means of stamping documents in the name of companies and public bodies. This is a digital copy of the stamp. Thus, the origin of the digital documents issued by the company is guaranteed and cannot be forged. By including a qualified timestamp, an electronic seal also allows documents to benefit from an additional assurance of integrity. The timestamp provides proof that the data corresponds to a specific time. This is, for example, the process used to ensure that an image of an expense report is original in accounting solutions that allow it to be materialized.

Ensure the validity and integrity of information in the media

News agencies and media outlets can very well use electronic seals to sign their articles, photos and eventually videos, allowing their online audience or readers to verify that the content consumed is original and has not been modified in any way. This system can be particularly useful for breaking news or controversial topics, when doubts remain about the veracity of the information provided.

Above all, such a device would underscore the fact that any content not signed off by a reference authority (or a recognized and certified author) would be questionable — in this case, fake news and AI-generated visuals.

For this system to work, it is necessary to be able to check the stamp associated with an article or shot issued by a press agency or media outlet. There is actually a simple solution: Adobe Acrobat Displays the validity of a signed PDF document. But it could be made simpler.

Thus one could imagine a browser extension that would make it possible to check the electronic stamp associated with an article or photo and ensure that it corresponds to the signature of a reputable news agency or media outlet with a certificate issued in the appropriate form. If the signature is correct, the user is assured that the content is trustworthy and reliable: it is indeed a trusted publisher, and the content is as it was when it was broadcast.

An already established and legal trust system to endorse authors and media

Europe has adopted a regulation via eIDAS that makes it possible to define appropriate roles and protocols for the deployment of this system. Trusted providers do exist. Finally, there is also a device for validating publishers: it is an advanced seal with a legal entity certificate.

By providing an additional level of trust to Internet readers, electronic signatures and seals can help combat the spread of fake news and misinformation. Making it easier to identify and verify legitimate sources of information will collectively help create a more secure system, just as the deployment of SSL in its day helped secure online transactions.

Fight misinformation with a safe and simple trust system at your fingertips

Europe and its democracies will have everything to gain from minimizing the impact of misleading or malicious content that seeks to manipulate public opinion. Electronic signatures and seals offer a promising solution for ensuring the reliability of news content in the age of media created and modified by artificial intelligence. Although some technical and logistical (browser extension) challenges remain, the benefits of this approach could be significant.

The Tribune is written by Guillaume Rigal, Head of Marketing at Signaturit

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