Digital Photo Help

Camera makers continue to ignore photojournalist pleas for encryption

by on Feb.06, 2018, under Reviews


Photo by Markus Spiske

In late 2016, more than 150 professionals sent a letter to camera makers requesting that they add encryption to their camera products. This encryption, as it does with other devices like smartphones, would help protect content on the camera and its media cards. “Without encryption capabilities,” the letter explained, “photographs and footage that we take can be examined and searched by the police, military, and border agents in countries where we operate and travel, and the consequences can be dire.”

More than a year has passed since the letter was circulated, and major camera manufacturers have largely failed to introduce encryption-based security on their camera products. Tech website ZDNet recently quizzed major camera manufacturers about potential plans to introduce encryption, and the response was underwhelming.

Fuji failed to respond to the site’s request for info, while Sony declined to discuss any product roadmaps related to camera encryption. Canon declined to talk about “future products and/or innovation.” Both Olympus and Nikon gave more extensive answers, though neither indicate any real progress on the topic.

Nikon, for its part, gave a canned response that it is listening to photographers and “will continue to evaluate product features to best suit the needs of our users.” Olympus’ response wasn’t much better, with a company spokesperson saying that the maker will “continue to review the request to implement encryption technology in our photographic and video products, and will develop a plan for implementation where applicable in consideration to the Olympus product roadmap and the market requirements.”

While photographers and filmmakers aren’t entirely without encrypted options, those options (mainly smartphones) are far less capable than the professional gear they’d otherwise use. Apple and Samsung have both focused heavily on encryption-based security for their mobile products, and Android users in general have the ability to toggle on encryption in the OS’s settings. Is it time for camera makers to catch up?



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