Image Authentication and Rightful Ownership Watermarking Method for the Cloud Environment

Khaleghparast, Reza
Cusack, Brian
Narayanan, Ajit
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

Cloud computing has evolved in the last five years from being an abstract idea and proposal, and into services that people use every day. In particular services that relate to mobile phone technologies have expanded in proportion to the number of users, so that for example the use of cloud drop boxes for photos, videos, and audio recordings is done on a daily basis. In the bigger picture businesses have found it economical to exploit the new opportunities and to migrate much of their previous business computing capability and storage facilities into the cloud. With opportunity there always comes the positive and negative aspects of risk. With cloud computing the economic advantages and the ease of access have outweighed the risk of unplanned information disclosure. Cloud computing spans a multitude of technologies, is multi-layered, and crosses the boundaries of different legal jurisdictions. As a consequence it is possible for an end user to commit their information and/or the information processing into cloud services with a trusted supplier. However, the cloud service supplier interacts with many other service suppliers who may not share the same legal compliance or understanding of the service level agreements. The complication of service agreements also extends to the ability of anyone service level agreement to adequately protect digital property rights. In this thesis the problem of rightful ownership is raised and research questions developed to explore the potential positive and negative risks around property ownership in the cloud. The three research questions are asked: • What preparation methods improve ownership protection in cloud environments? • What could be a suitable management framework to increase ownership protection in a cloud environment? • What tests show the reliability of a proposed method in a cloud environment? The literature analysis identified both watermarking and watermarking technologies as being relevant to the key issue of privacy protection. Consequently the researcher chose to build a watermarking application and to introduce unique security features and implementation schema as a working solution to the problem. A design science approach is adopted as being relevant to an exploratory investigation and the development of software artefacts that are open to revision and continuous improvement. The researcher builds a watermarking software artefact (see Appendix B for the code, and chapter 4 for the demonstration) and submits to industry experts for naturalistic feedback. Comprehensive statistical analysis is also performed on the artefact to know and to understand the value of the implementation. It was found that this particular solution to the rightful ownership problem is a working solution that can be further developed in theory and in practice. The significant innovation proposed in this thesis is that the service supplier takes responsibility for watermarking all objects submitted to the cloud in the interests of standardisation, performance, and security of information in the cloud. The nature and approach of this research has been to address the theoretical problem by reasoning and then to deliver a solution by demonstrating a relevant software artefact. The software artefact for watermarking has performed well and passed naturalistic scrutiny but it requires further development and maturity before it can be generalised across the Cloud services industry. The suggestions for further research arising from this thesis are: • examination of watermarking potential for all information submitted to the cloud • further research and intellectual property protection in the Cloud • further exploration of industry sector specific requirements for watermarking • the development of policies and law that applies to ownership issues in the cloud • standardisation procedures for all cloud service suppliers • the availability of watermarking tools on every cloud service suppliers site

Cloud Computing , Rightful ownership , Watermarking , Image authentication
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