Technical issues with the Hunter Biden email

The PDF Association has an analysis of the file which the New York Post has uploaded to Scribd, which purports to show a message from Vadim Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer. Discussions of what it signifies politically and whether Twitter was justified in blocking the link are for another place. The issue in this blog is what the file says about the authenticity of the email. The answer is: Nothing at all.

Creating a PDF with any textual content doesn’t take special skills. Calling it a “deepfake,” as the article’s title does, is ridiculous. Moreover, the email message doesn’t have the full headers; all it has is the From, Subject, Date, and To headers. Full headers would be more convincing. They can be faked, but it’s hard to do it without introducing inconsistencies that an expert would notice.

The PDF Association article notes that the PDF, assuming the timestamps are accurate, was made a year before the Post received it. It’s interesting that someone held onto the file for so long before reporting it. It raises the question: Does the Post even have the original mailbox file, or at least a copy of the message with complete headers? If it doesn’t, it has no evidence, just an assertion.

By the way, the new editor makes it harder to format text, set categories and tags, really just about everything. Its block feature may have advantages for fancy layout, but it’s a pain for a straight text post. I don’t know how long it’s been in place, since it’s been quite a while since my previous post. But I see people are still reading this blog for its older articles!

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