Dr. Isao Echizen, Associate Professor at the National Institute of Informatics (Director General: Masao Sakauchi), has developed a new technology for preventing unauthorized copying of information shown on a display. This new technology applies a technology that was announced in September 2009 to prevent unauthorized copying of films by using the difference in sensitivity between human beings and devices. A near-infrared ray unit, which has no effect on human vision, is installed on existing displays to enable the prevention of unauthorized copying of information shown on the display. In addition to preventing disclosure of confidential and personal information through the unauthorized copying of displays, an issue in recent years, it is expected that the new technology will have broad application as a technology for preventing unauthorized copying of works of art, factory equipment and other objects subject to a ban on photography.
Technologies to prevent unauthorized copying through encryption are widely used to prevent the disclosure of personal and confidential information or to protect the copyright of pictures and images, but it has been pointed out that once digital information is converted to analog and shown on a display or a screen, a digital camera can capture the analog information on display and invalidate the encryption (the analog hole issue).
There are already frequent occurrences of copyright infringement cases where digital cameras have been used for unauthorized copying of footage shown on screens in movie theaters, and then illegally sold or made available on movie distribution sites or as bootleg copies. In Japan alone, losses due to unauthorized copying of films is said to be 18 billion yen. There have also been cases of disclosure of personal information where staff members at medical facilities have used digital cameras to photograph displays showing patient records and using the images for external presentations without permission. In addition, there are concerns about the increasingly high quality of unauthorized images due to improvements in the functions of display devices and photographic equipment in the future. The prevention of unauthorized copying of displays and screens is an essential countermeasure, requiring urgent steps to prevent information disclosure and to protect copyright.
For these reasons, in September 2009, Dr. Isao Echizen, Associate Professor at the National Institute of Informatics, developed a technology that prevents unauthorized copying of films shown on a screen. This technology focuses on the differences in spectral sensitivity characteristics between human beings and imaging devices. By installing a near-infrared ray light source, which superimposes noise on video images without any impact on human vision, on the back of existing movie screens, it is possible to prevent unauthorized copying of the images shown on the screen without adding any new functions to the digital camera.
On this occasion, we have successfully developed a new technology by applying this technology to the unauthorized copying of displays. Similar to the technology previously applied to screens, this technology facilitates copyright protection for picture and image content, and prevents disclosure of confidential and personal information through the unauthorized copying of displays by simply equipping existing displays with a unit to prevent unauthorized copying, without adding any new functions to the digital camera.