Countering the Counterfeiters

Adobe, makers of the hugely popular Photoshop graphics software, in use by the majority of serious commercial grapic artists as well as amateurs, has come clean and admitted it has conspired with an international consortium of banks and governments to hide code in Photoshop to prevent copying of images of bank notes.

“Adobe, the world’s leading vendor for graphics software, said the secretive technology “would have minimal impact on honest customers”. It generates a warning message when someone tries to make digital copies of some currencies. “

This is an interesting one. On the one hand, it seems a reasonable move, given that in today’s computerised age, programs such as Photoshop are likely to be the tool of choice by naughty people wanting to produce their own currency without the inconvenience of earning the real folding stuff.

On the other hand, what Adobe has done is allow a bunch of interested parties to include code in a proprietory program. Adobe didn’t develop the code which stops the counterfeiting, it simply included it within the Adobe Photoshop code (as has at least a couple of other graphic software companies according to media reports).

So although the initial concept seems logical, it opens a tough can of worms to digest – the idea that self-interest parties, with sufficient clout, can strong arm commercial, independent companies to modify software – without those companies having access to the original code.

Adobe claims it only adds a fraction of a second to the execution time of the program, they are playing the whole thing down, saying it will not affect ‘honest’ users.

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