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Open Access Telltale Watermarks for Counting JPEG Compressions

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Telltale watermarks allow to infer how a watermarked signal has been altered on the channel by analyzing the distortion applied to the watermark. We propose a new kind of telltale watermark for digital images that tracks the number of JPEG (re-)compressions. Our watermarks leverage peculiarities in the convergence behavior of JPEG images. We show that it is possible to generate or find combinations of pixel values which form so called "counter blocks". Counter blocks cycle predictably through a fixed number of states in subsequent JPEG compression and decompression operations. By combining counter blocks with different cycle lengths in one image, we are able to track the number of JPEG (re-)compressions in extended ranges. We evaluate the accuracy of counter blocks, discuss pitfalls when embedding them, and study the construction of counter blocks with specified cycle lengths.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 14, 2016

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  • For more than 30 years, the Electronic Imaging Symposium has been serving those in the broad community - from academia and industry - who work on imaging science and digital technologies. The breadth of the Symposium covers the entire imaging science ecosystem, from capture (sensors, camera) through image processing (image quality, color and appearance) to how we and our surrogate machines see and interpret images. Applications covered include augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, machine vision, data analysis, digital and mobile photography, security, virtual reality, and human vision. IS&T began sole sponsorship of the meeting in 2016. All papers presented at EIs 20+ conferences are open access.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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