Last year I blogged about the metadata created by cameras that could unintentionally reveal information (Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Beware of hidden digital camera metadata). EXIF data is in the news again...
A little while ago, someone released the new Harry Potter book in the form of photographs of each page. The person who did this didn't remove the EXIF data from the photos, which includes the camera's serial number.
Digital DNA could finger Harry Potter leaker - Times Online
"The Exif data is like the picture's DNA; you can't switch it off. Every image has it. Some software can be used to strip or edit the information, but you can't edit every field," Mr Solomon said.
A post on the digg.com website claimed that the serial number of the camera which photographed the pages claimed to be from the unpublished Harry Potter, was 560151117.
Canon's head office in Japan confirmed that a serial number would reveal the country in which the camera was sold and possibly also the store, but declined to give any further information about the device used in this case.
The discovery reveals the extent to which people who distribute photographs online can be traced, which is especially relevant given the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, which have in some cases been sources of incriminating material.
If traced, the person who photographed the Harry Potter novel could be found guilty of copyright infringement, but would be unlikely to face criminal charges as the photos appear not to have been published for commercial gain, lawyers said.
Thanks to Boing Boing for the link: Boing Boing: Harry Potter photo-leaker might be busted through metadata.