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"Share Tactics" -- The Discovery Files

The Discovery Files
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A research team at the University of Southern California has developed a way to encrypt a crucial portion of the photo to keep it secure, while leaving enough unencrypted that it can still be utilized by cloud filesharing services.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Now you see it--now they don't.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

By the time you hear this report another 150,000 photos will have been shared online. That's over 1500 a second. Most of these photos will be unencrypted, so you never know who's doing what with them. Some social network sites may actually have commercial rights to your pics just because you posted them on their site. (Sound effect: old SLR mechanism sound)

A research team at USC has come up with a way to share photos that puts you in control and keeps your images away from prying eyes even on sites like Facebook and Flickr. Dubbed, "Privacy-Preserving Photo Sharing," or P3 for short, this new tool takes and encrypts just small amounts of crucial data from the photo. The rest of the data is what's sent to the file-sharing site. This unencrypted and now unrecognizable portion of the photo is now all that can be seen. The sender can then share the encrypted part with select people who will be the only ones to view the full image.

Now users will be able to share on the cloud and maintain privacy and, no more 'clouding the issue' on who owns the rights to your pics. Only you own the rights to your full, undegraded photos. Unless you want them to, no one can even make them out. The P3 process has garnered a patent, and will be marketed in the near future. Just thought I'd share that with you.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at or on our podcast.

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