904. Aren’t there “digital forensics” techniques that can detect whether photographs have been doctored?

Yes, but they cannot ferret out every kind of change made to photographs and they are not easily accessible to most photographers.

The only sure check for whether a photograph has been undetectably doctored would be a “before” and “after” comparison.

• The “before” picture would be a photograph that would be specially encrypted at the time it was recorded so that it could later be verified as not having been further altered after it was initially recorded.

• The “after” picture would be the final photograph that is put before viewers.

• Careful visual comparison of the “before” and “after” images would reveal what visual changes had been made (and whether those changes disqualify the photo from the Trust Checklist).

Interestingly, after years of “nothing to report,” progress on bringing to market a practical “before/after” process is suddenly moving ahead.

In 2021 new efforts are reportedly being made by tech companies to perfect the process of instantly encrypting and uploading (and then later verifying) the images that would be regarded as the “before” photos.