WhatsApp camera bug could lead to misleading digital evidence

WhatsApp has become a powerful communication app which is used by many to also take photographs which are immediately sent out to groups or contacts at minimum effort. No doubt this is a great feature and very useful for the users.

However, I observe that there is a practical issue connected with the camera function which could render it an instrument of “Manipulation of Digital Evidence”.

If one uses the WhatsApp camera button and clicks a photograph with the front camera, then the image is stored with a lateral inversion. An example is shown below.

The problem occurs when a person takes an action picture such as one writing a letter with his right hand. The picture may show that the person is writing with his left hand.  At first glance therefore the person would appear to be a leftie. This could vitiate immediate evidentiary value of the photograph and adds a new dimension to accepting such photographs as digital evidence.

This is a technical bug which should be corrected by WhatsApp by introducing an automated operation to recognize that a picture is being taken with the front  camera and immediately make a lateral inversion of the picture before it is stored in the application and forwarded to the addressee.


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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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