Photo sharing sites can be a photographer’s friend and foe. While you have an instant audience of millions, posting your photos online also opens you up to the possibility of their being used without your permission. While there are many methods to watermark your photos, until now they have all required that you do it yourself in post processing, and most can be removed, at which point it becomes difficult to prove ownership of the photo. Canon has requested a trademark for a technology called Iris Watermarking. You can read the whole detail explanation as explained in the patent application.
With Canon’s Iris Watermarking technology, you can register up to five different users per camera. The camera will embed specific biological data electronically from the user into the image files when they look through the viewfinder. The advantages as spelled out in the patent application are:
(1) “The embedded data cannot be extracted without the key information used at the time of embedding.”
(2) “Since the embed component in the key information is created based upon a random number, the component is not fixed, thereby making it difficult to decode the embedded data.”
(3) “By specially adapting the embed component, data can be embedded so as not to be sensible by a human being.”
(4) “The degree to which image quality declines can be controlled by changing the amount of alteration.”
Check out John Harrington’s coverage of this new technology for more detail.