UK - What Is Truth?

Arno Froese

That truth is the first casualty of war is an old aphorism. One recent instance is the proliferation of images and videos of things that did not happen, in wars such as those currently going on in Ukraine and Syria. Some of these are outright fakes. Others are manipulated versions of honestly recorded material. Last year a doctored video appeared of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, apparently telling Ukrainian soldiers to surrender.

Ways to establish the authenticity of digital imagery would be valuable. And one is now available. “Glass-to-glass” warning systems create special software “ecosystems” within which pictures and video can be taken, stored and transmitted in a way that alerts viewers to alterations, no matter when and where those changes are introduced in an image’s journey from lens to screen.

One such system has been developed by eyeWitness to Atrocities, a charity based in London. The app at its core does two things. First, when a photo or video is taken by a phone fitted with that app, it records the time and location of the event, as reported by hard-to-deny electronic witnesses such as GPS satellites and nearby mobile-phone towers and Wi-Fi networks. This is known as the controlled capture of metadata, and is more secure than collecting such metadata from the phone itself, because a phone’s time and location settings can be changed.

Second, the app reads the image’s entire digital sequence (the zeros and ones which represent it) and uses a standard mathematical formula to calculate an alphanumeric value, known as a hash, unique to that picture., 9 January 2023

Arno's Commentary

One technology overlaps the next one. Distinguishing the fake from real has become a battle of computer engineers; in this case, eyeWitness to Atrocities. This system, it is claimed, can detect virtually any alteration to video or picture. The article emphasizes that if only a single pixel does not match in an image, it rings alarm bells.

Yet all is not well; the article ends: “Hurdles, however, remain. Jonathan Dotan, the Starling Lab’s founding director, points to one in particular. The technology could potentially allow authoritarian regimes to identify devices, and thus people, who have taken damning pictures. Researchers, he says, must first find a way to make such tracing impossible. Transparency is all very well, but even the good guys recognize that, sometimes, too much of it can be too much of a good thing.” Doubtless, this technology is dangerous regarding the privacy of individuals. 

Here we are reminded of Pontius Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38a). When we analyze these three simple words, we realize there is no truth in the world. Why not? Because the god of this world, the father of lies, is in charge of our sin-saturated planet.

Thomas asked, “How can we know the way?” (John 14:5b). Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (v. 6).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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