Morning Security Brief: Copyright Reform, Fake Photos, and Counterfeit Driver's Licenses

By Teresa Anderson

►A new study released by the Australian Digital Alliance finds that, by loosening copyright restrictions, the country could conservatively add $600 billion (equivalent to $624 billion U.S. dollars) to the nation’s annual economy. The study recommends changing current Australian law, which strictly prohibits the reuse of copyrighted material, to allow “fair use”, which allows copyrighted work to be used depending on whether it is used for commercial purposes and how much of the work is repeated. The study also recommends that Australia adopt the use of safe harbors for all online service providers. Currently, safe harbors can only be used by telecommunications providers.

► New software is designed to determine whether a photo is real or photoshopped. The software, called FourMatch, analyzes the photo to determine whether it has been altered. If a photo is changed using software such as Photoshop and is then saved, the signature of the image changes to reflect the editing software. Designed for law enforcement and the legal profession, the software cannot tell the user how the image was altered, just that it’s not the original.

►A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that obtaining a driver’s license by fraudulent means remains possible, despite efforts to curb the practice. The report found that all states and the District of Columbia use procedures to detect counterfeit documents and verify Social Security numbers, practices that were not conducted 10 years ago. Most states also check immigration status with the U.S. government and many states now use facial recognition techniques to verify identity.

However, when the GAO conducted an in-depth investigation into the practices of 11 states, it found that criminals could still steal the identity of a person in one state and then use it to obtain a license in another state. This is because the system for addressing cross-state fraud, which checks to see whether someone seeking a license in one state already has a license in another state, will not be operational until 2023.

Also, states had a difficult time detecting forged birth certificates. Investigators were able to use counterfeit documents, including birth certificates, to fraudulently obtain licenses in three states.


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