ple, when monitoring radio transmissions to ensure that adverts have been played as contracted, we only require enough resistance to distortion to deal with naturally oc- curring effects and prevent transfer of marks from one ad- vert to another ; and where our concern is to make proprietary images available to scholars, as in the ‘Vati- can Library Accessible Worldwide’ project, IBM came up with a simple solution using visible watermarks – which leave the the documents still perfectly suitable for research purposes but discourage illegal publication for profit .
In this paper we gave an overview of information hid- ing in general and steganography in particular. We looked at a range of applications and tried to place the various techniques in historical context in order to elucidate the relationships between them, as many recently proposed sys- tems have failed to learn from historical experience.
We then described a number of attacks on information hiding systems, which between them demolish most of the current contenders in the copyright marking business. We have described a tool, StirMark, which breaks many of them by adding sub-perceptual distortion; and we have described a custom attack on echo hiding.
This led us to a discussion of marking in general. We de- scribed some of the problems in constructing a general the- ory and the practical requirements that marking schemes and steganographic systems may have to meet. We ad- vanced the suggestion that it is impractical to demand that any one marking scheme satisfy all of these require- ments simultaneously; that is, that ‘the marking problem,’ as sometimes described in the literature, is over-specified.
That does not of course mean that particular marking problems are insoluble. Both historical precedent and re- cent innovation provide us with a wide range of tools, which if applied intelligently should be sufficient to solve most of the problems that we meet in practice.
Some of the ideas presented here were clarified by discus- sion with Roger Needham, John Daugman, Peter Rayner, Martin Kutter and Scott Craver. The first author is grate- ful to Intel Corporation for financial support under the grant ‘Robustness of Information Hiding Systems’ while the third author is supported by the European Commission under a Marie Curie training grant. Special thanks to the Whipple Science Museum Library, the Rare Book Section of the Cambridge University Library, and the Cambridge University Archives, for their help.
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