The News Provenance Authentication Project

About the Project | Meet The Team | Contact Information

About the Project

Much online news content lacks verifiable information about its provenance, including who wrote and published it, what organization distributed it, and when it was published. Without provenance, readers have no guarantees that the content they accessed originated with the stated publisher. Readers also cannot be sure when the content was published, or if it has been altered or updated. This project will develop a new system to cryptographically verify the provenance of digital news content. This system includes tools to attribute digital content to its publisher, confirm its publication date and show its revision history. This system will improve publisher credibility, help readers hold publishers accountable, and help archivists preserve correct digital content. Ultimately, the system will improve the security and trustworthiness of the online information ecosystem.

This project will advance knowledge through the design, development, and distribution of novel technical authentication mechanisms for digital media. This project’s work involves designing, testing, and implementing cryptographic tools to secure modern digital publication systems. The team will integrate cryptography with user interface design to create a prototype that accurately and verifiably conveys provenance and integrity guarantees. Through iterative development of applied cryptography, standards-development, and user-experience research, the researchers will create tools to provide solutions to significant research challenges in information authenticity, applied cryptography, and human-computer interaction. The system will enable verification of publication dates and version history, and check integrity of embedded elements of content such as images and social media posts. By engaging users in the design of the new publishing protocol, this work will bridge the gap between user-centric and cryptographic notions of authenticity. The work will facilitate the creation and adoption of these technologies by general and specialized publishers, and will mitigate security threats and improve assurance that the public can trust online news sources and content.

The Cryptographic Provenance for Digital Publishing project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award numbers CNS-1940670, CNS-1940679 and CNS-1940713. The views and conclusions contained on this site are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of NSF. Any mention of specific companies or products does not imply any endorsement by the authors or by NSF.

Meet the Team

  • Clemson University:
  • Kelly Caine (Human Centered Computing): Co-PI; Associate Professor of Human-Centered Computing
  • Errol Francis II (Computer Science): Graduate Student
  • Columbia University:
  • Susan McGregor (Digital Journalism): Co-PI; Associate Research Scholar
  • Bernat Ivancsics (Digital Journalism): Graduate Student
  • New York University:
  • Joseph Bonneau (Computer Science): Co-PI; Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Billy Kern (Computer Science): Graduate Student

Contact Information

News Authentication Group