The Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) aims to implement a new standard for online content. But what exactly is it and how does it differ from existing initiatives?

From the safety of vaccines through to the reputation of political figures and everything in between, most people will be familiar with the idea of online audiences being intentionally misled by what they see on social media and forums. But few will be familiar with the various tools and initiatives that are currently being developed to help people understand the trustworthiness of what they see online. In this article, we examine one of the latest of these, the C2PA.

What is the C2PA?

The C2PA is a coming together of some of the biggest players in the tech, creative, publishing and broadcasting industries to create an open standard for content provenance and authenticity.

Leonard Rosenthal, Chair of the C2PA Technical Working Group and Adobe’s CAI Architect, described its goal as bringing “an open standard that can be adopted anywhere in the world, in individual organizations, in individual businesses, in industry segments. We want something that is usable anywhere and everywhere. And that’s whether we’re thinking about images, videos, audio, or documents.

“All we’re really saying here is we’re using some well-established mathematics and technology in the area of cryptography to be able to ensure that we can detect – or more specifically, you, as a consumer, can detect – when assets have been modified.”

Who are members of the C2PA?

The C2PA has over 30 members among its active contributors, including many extremely influential names, such as Adobe, Arm, BBC, Intel, Microsoft, Truepic and Twitter.

Why was the C2PA formed?

The aim of the C2PA is to combine the efforts of two existing initiatives designed to vouch for the integrity of digital media: The Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) and Project Origin.

What is the C2PA’s mission?

Laura Ellis, Head of Technology Forecasting at the BBC – one of the leading forces behind Project Origin – gave a good description of what the C2PA aims to achieve: “Given the disinformation that we’re encountering right across the media landscape, we just feel that now’s the time to be thinking about, in the long term, starting to embed these signals or align these signals to our content.

“If you can’t trust what you see, and you can’t trust that what you see is coming from the bona fide media organization that you believe it is, then that undermines trust right across the board for us.

“It’s something that we felt we needed to invest a lot of time and thought in, and we were more than delighted to find that there were like-minded people in the CAI at the time.”

How is the C2PA making a difference?

Release of the C2PA technical specification

On January 26, 2022, the C2PA released ver