05 July 2017
Washington DC
Reporter: Barney Dixon

NSA unveils updated patent portfolio

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has updated its portfolio of licensable patents, with technologies ranging from digital camera fingerprinting to electronic paper.

The NSA said the portfolio represents its “premier innovations” available for use in the private sector. It operates under a federal mandate to move agency technology into the commercial marketplace, which feeds into the government's annual commitment to research and development, now totalling more than $145 billion.

Patents for flexible circuits, digital camera fingerprinting and unique translation technologies have all been made available.

One protects a method for fabricating a flexible, organic, integrated circuit, while another covers reducing semiconductors to wafer thin proportions.

The NSA has a single patent for digital camera fingerprinting, which essentially gives each camera it’s own unique identifier, without needing access to the source camera.

This is achieved by studying the unique noise pattern on a digital image that each individual camera leaves. The NSA’s technology can also be used on cropped or corrupted images.

In its portfolio, the NSA also holds patents for technology that translates any language into text, using a unique universal alphabet comprised of sounds from 15 different languages. This allows the system to recognise various different languages faster than a human, allowing further translation.

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