I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Fourandsix has now released our very first product: FourMatch. If you go to the FourMatch page on our site, you’ll find lots of information about the product, but I wanted to say a bit more about it here specifically for regular readers of our blog.
As we say prominently on the product page, FourMatch is a product that’s designed to “authenticate images instantly,” and that’s exactly what it does. It automatically identifies files that have been unmodified since they were first captured by a camera or mobile device. So, if you need to deliver strong evidence that a photo is truthful, FourMatch is the tool for you.
Last month, I wrote a blog post about using the “3 F’s” to determine the authenticity of a photo. FourMatch is a tool for examining the first of these F’s, the File. Unlike many of the techniques we’ve detailed in this blog over the past year, FourMatch does not examine the photo itself, so it doesn’t look for inconsistencies in the image. Tools to handle these other F’s—Footprints and Flaws—will come later.
What’s special about FourMatch is something I hinted about in my “Null Hypothesis” blog post earlier this year. Most image forensics techniques are great for spotting signs of tampering in an image, but, when you fail to find one of these signs, you really haven’t quite proven that the image is real. It could just be an expertly created fake.
In contrast, if a photo passes the FourMatch test, you can be confident that it’s authentic. It’s when a photo fails this test that it’s less conclusive. That’s when some of the other analysis techniques—such as looking for shadow and reflection inconsistencies—can come into play. Thus, FourMatch can make a great triage step in a larger forensics workflow.
More importantly, though, FourMatch can solve a critical problem for some specific use cases. We expect it to be particularly valuable for users in law enforcement. Photographic evidence forms the core of some types of court cases, but doubts about image veracity have weakened the effectiveness of this evidence. With FourMatch, police and legal professionals have an important tool for establishing the reliability of this evidence.
In the coming weeks we’ll be blogging more about how to use FourMatch. But don’t worry, we won’t stop covering other types of techniques as well, and we have every intention of providing more tools for your analysis toolbox in the future.