The New York Times R&D team has partnered with Adobe’s Content Authenticity Initiative (“CAI”) to launch a CAI technology prototype. This technology gives readers transparency into the source and veracity of news visuals.

This furthers CAI’s goal of displaying a CAI logo next to images published in traditional or social media. Doing this will provide consumers important information about an image, such as where and when it was first created and how it might have been altered or edited. Further, this marks a major step forward for the CAI as it works to bolster trust in content among both consumers and publishers.

Content authenticity

In this world of fake news, manipulated images and conspiracy theories; with so much of the information we receive being visual, it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction. Images are taken out of the traditional social media streams, sometimes changed, posted and reposted without payment or acknowledgment. The viewer has no idea what the original context is or where the information came from.

“The more people are able to understand the true origin of their media, the less room there is for ‘fake news’ and other deceitful information. Allowing everyone to provide and access media origins will protect against manipulated, deceptive, or out-of-context online media.”

— Scott Lowenstein, NYT R&D

The Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) is working to develop an open industry standard that will allow for more confidence in the authenticity of photographs. They are creating a community of trust, to help viewers know if they can believe what they see.  

Today, the New York Times Co., a founding member of the CAI (along with Adobe and Twitter) announced a prototype of this system of end-to-end secure capture, edit, and publish.  


Secure sourcing

You can find an example of what’s called “secure sourcing” on the NYT R&D site.

The work they are doing shows how news outlets are experimenting with CAI technology. They are giving us an idea of what is possible. The goal of CAI is to display a CAI logo with published images that give readers more information about the origin of the imagery. It will also show whether it may have been edited or manipulated.

You can read more about the technology in the CAI’s first case study.


With early access to the CAI software developer kit, they were able to securely display provenance immutability sealed to their images, which also reflect edits made in the prerelease version of Photoshop.  

This prototype with the New York Times Co. is a major step forward in the work CAI has developed with their community of major media, technology companies and others. They will be working to promote and drive the implementation of an open industry standard around content authenticity and origins.

This program will increase trust in content from consumers, editing partners like Adobe, publishers and others.