Par Government Systems to help DARPA authenticate intelligence images and video
ROME, N.Y., 3 June 2016. Intelligence experts at Par Government Systems Corp. in Rome, N.Y., are developing automated methods to authenticate images and video feared to have been manipulated deceptively under terms of a $7.2 million contract announced Thursday.
Officials of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate in Rome N.Y., are asking Par to provide software and hardware in support of the Media Forensics (MediFor) program, which seeks to develop technologies for the automated assessment of the integrity of an image or video.
The Air Force Research Lab is awarding the contract to Par on behalf of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va.
The DARPA MediFor program seeks to level the digital imagery playing field, which today favors the manipulator, by developing technologies for the automated assessment of the integrity of an image or video and integrating these in an end-to-end media forensics platform.
If successful, the MediFor platform automatically will detect manipulations, provide detailed information about how these manipulations were performed, and reason about the overall integrity of visual media to determine if the imagery represents useful intelligence.
Par experts will integrated automated image-forensics technologies to detect manipulations, provide analysts and decision makers with detailed information about the types of manipulations performed, how they were performed, and their significance.
Historically the military services have used several kinds of imagery-collection systems that provided imagery with assured integrity. In recent years, however, consumer digital cameras and mobile phones have become ubiquitous. Experts say that an average of 1.8 billion images and videos were loaded to social media per day in 2014.
While this imagery represents a huge opportunity for military intelligence analysts, these analysts still must deal with a growing number of these images that have been deceptively manipulated, DARPA experts say.
While some of these manipulations are benign, others are for adversarial propaganda or misinformation campaigns. Having a complete understanding of what manipulation was done is essential for analysts and systems ultimately to decide whether to use the image or video.
Today's forensic tools lack robustness and scalability and address only some aspects of media authentication, DARPA officials say. They typically are limited to a yes-or-no decision about the source being an original asset, obtained directly from an imaging device.
As a result, media authentication is typically performed manually using a variety of ad-hoc methods that are often more art than science, and forensics analysts rely heavily on their own background and experience.
The MediFor program aims to level this playing field by developing automated image-assessment technologies that will be integrated in a visual media forensics platform to detect manipulations automatically, provide analysts with detailed information about the types of manipulations performed, how they were performed, and their value as an intelligence source.
Par prevailed in this competition over 37 other bidders. On this contract Par will do the work in Rome, N.Y., and should be finished by June 2020.
For more information contact Par Government Systems Corp. online at www.pargovernment.com, the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate at www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl/ri, or DARPA at www.darpa.mil.