In art, antiques, and anthropology, a common problem is verifying that a person has the said identity, or a given artifact was produced by a certain person or was produced in a certain place or period of history.
There are three types of techniques for doing this.
The first type of authentication is accepting proof of identity given by a credible person who has evidence on the said identity, or on the originator and the object under assessment as the originator's artifact respectively.
The second type of authentication is comparing the attributes of the object itself to what is known about objects of that origin. For example, an art expert might look for similarities in the style of painting, check the location and form of a signature, or compare the object to an old photograph. An archaeologist might use carbon dating to verify the age of an artifact, do a chemical analysis of the materials used, or compare the style of construction or decoration to other artifacts of similar origin. The physics of sound and light, and comparison with a known physical environment, can be used to examine the authenticity of audio recordings, photographs, or videos.
Attribute comparison may be vulnerable to forgery. In general, it relies on the facts that creating a forgery indistinguishable from a genuine artifact requires expert knowledge, that mistakes are easily made, and that the amount of effort required to do so is considerably greater than the amount of profit that can be gained from the forgery.
In art and antiques, certificates are of great importance for authenticating an object of interest and value. Certificates can, however, also be forged, and the authentication of these poses a problem. For instance, the son of Han van Meegeren, the well-known art-forger, forged the work of his father and provided a certificate for its provenance as well; see the article Jacques van Meegeren.
Criminal and civil penalties for fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting can reduce the incentive for falsification, depending on the risk of getting caught.
The third type of authentication relies on documentation or other external affirmations. For example, the rules of evidence in criminal courts often require establishing the chain of custody of evidence presented. This can be accomplished through a written evidence log, or by testimony from the police detectives and forensics staff that handled it. Some antiques are accompanied by certificates attesting to their authenticity. External records have their own problems of forgery and perjury, and are also vulnerable to being separated from the artifact and lost.
Currency and other financial instruments commonly use the first type of authentication method. Bills, coins, and cheques incorporate hard-to-duplicate physical features, such as fine printing or engraving, distinctive feel, watermarks, and holographic imagery, which are easy for receivers to verify.
Consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals, perfume, fashion clothing can use either type of authentication method to prevent counterfeit goods from taking advantage of a popular brand's reputation (damaging the brand owner's sales and reputation). A trademark is a legally protected marking or other identifying feature which aids consumers in the identification of genuine brand-name goods.
Read more about this topic: Authentication
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Famous quotes containing the word methods:
“It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“The greatest part of our faults are more excusable than the methods that are commonly taken to conceal them.”
—François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (16131680)
“With a generous endowment of motherhood provided by legislation, with all laws against voluntary motherhood and education in its methods repealed, with the feminist ideal of education accepted in home and school, and with all special barriers removed in every field of human activity, there is no reason why woman should not become almost a human thing. It will be time enough then to consider whether she has a soul.”
—Crystal Eastman (18811928)