This story is from the 2019 Access FYI: FedEx Young Innovators List. Explore more from this issue
Jeffery McGregor speaking in front of audience

Using Tech to Restore Trust in Images

Start-up Truepic’s “controlled capture” technology ensures image trustworthiness by verifying authenticity at the point of creation.

Jeffery McGregor speaking in front of audience

Filtering Instagram photos has become second nature. And while this application of photo editing may seem harmless, what about doctored photos on online dating profiles or Airbnb listings? Or the ever-evolving world of fake social media images and “deepfakes,” where artificial intelligence (AI) is used to tamper with photos and videos with uncannily realistic-looking results?

By enabling everyone on the planet with a smartphone to capture trusted documentation, we will move the world one step closer to transparency and accountability

—Jeffrey McGregor, Co-founder and CEO of Truepic

As co-founder and CEO of Truepic, Jeffrey McGregor is fighting damaging scenarios just like these. With patented “controlled-capture” technologies, cryptology and AI, the San Diego–based start-up’s free app allows anyone to take photos and videos whose contents, origin and metadata are 100 percent verifiable. That’s because image pixel and metadata are verified at the moment they’re captured and then immediately recorded to the blockchain. The technology has led the company to describe itself as the “world’s first notary” for digital photos, as it also believes its images create a new legal standard for photographs.

Truepic’s app and proprietary technology have been used in more than 100 countries and across a wide range of industries, including media, insurance, banking, logistics, supply chain, and health and beauty consumer goods. In Syria, humanitarian organizations have used the app to capture verifiable evidence of civilian attacks, and the U.S. State Department has used it to train civil society groups around the world. “By enabling everyone on the planet with a smartphone to capture trusted documentation, we will move the world one step closer to transparency and accountability,” McGregor says. “We believe this shift will have a profound impact on both business and society.”

As image fraud becomes more sophisticated and widespread, Truepic is also gaining traction. The company will soon introduce the ability to analyze preexisting digital photos for signs of fraud, thanks to a recent acquisition of software company Fourandsix Inc., developers of one of the most advanced digital forensics technologies available online.

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