The Corner

The Signatures

Because I was agonizingly out of the loop Friday and Saturday, I’m sure this has been covered elsewhere. But here’s the thing that bothers me about the signatures. Whether or not they are forgeries is secondary, it seems to me. A document which has been photocopied and faxed countless times cannot be relied upon when examinung signatures. With computer technology — and even without it –it would be fairly simple matter of putting an authentic signature on an inauthentic document. On a computer all it takes is scanning a valid signature and pasting it into the document. With a Xerox machine, all you have to do is cut a piece of paper with a valid signature on it and glue it to the fake. Since you can Xerox as much as you want, the edges can be gotten rid of with White Out or some such. But if you have Photoshop you can even play with the signature just enough to make it look unique.

There’s a reason why so many banks require original documents; because copies can be played with too easily. Unfortunately, CBS News stand by a much lower standard.

That isn’t to say news organization should never use copies as evidence in a story. But considering that even CBS’s experts say that the typeface stuff is too ambiguous to rely on and all the other iffy aspects of this, you’d think they’d rely on a bit more than they did.

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