Anonymous Camera is the New App Protecting Protesters' Privacy in Black Lives Matter Movement
Image for representation.
The most important thing about the app is that it works in real-time, which means that all videos or photos only exist in their original state for a brief time as the app amends them to be blurred, instead of manually doing it later.
- Last Updated: June 13, 2020, 12:44 IST
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As the Black Lives Matter protests gain global momentum, police are relying on photos and videos taken by protesters or on-lookers to identify them.
While some incidents of looting and rioting have been caught on camera and are helping police track down the miscreants, there have also been several charges that police are purposely hunting down protesters and targeting them for earlier crimes or making up charges.
To prevent protesters from being identified, there's a new app on the block.
The new camera app is called Anonymous Camera and launched on the iOS App Store on Friday. Developed by London AI startup Playground, it was built with the help of investigative journalists who wanted an easy way to record anonymous footage.
Anonymous Camera uses machine learning to identify people in images and videos and then blur, pixelate, or block out entirely faces or whole bodies. Being able to block out feature altogether is important, as some blurring and pixelation methods can be reversed, reports The Verge.
Since often, individuals can be identified not just by their faces but by their clothing, tattoos, and other identifying markers, and even voices, the app also distort voices in videos and strips any metadata that’s automatically embedded in files by cameras and phones - including the geo-tag and the time stamp.
But the most important thing about the app is that it works in real-time, which means that all videos or photos only exist in their original state for a brief time as the app amends them to be blurred, instead of manually doing it later.
While the app works, it raises a larger moral question - what happens when the app is used to record a crime, and the faces of the perpetrators are blurred out?