Here's how this app is helping protestors exchange images anonymously
This app is available only on iOS.
Being anonymous in an era of artificial intelligence and face recognition tools is next to impossible. At a time when Black Lives Matter initiative is garnering global momentum, police are particularly relying on these tools for identifying the protestors.
Now, a new camera app called the Anonymous Camera is helping protestors share images and videos without the fear of getting identified by the police.
To give you some context, protests have erupted all across the US following the death of George Floyd. This has prompted the tech companies such as Amazon and IBM to stop lending their face recognition tools to the police in a bid to help protestors supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign from being identified using these tools. Both Microsoft and IBM have stopped the sales of their face recognition tool to the police. Amazon has also halted the program for a year.
Coming back to the Anonymous Camera app, it has been developed by a London-based AI startup called Playground and it can be downloaded via Apple's App Store where it has garnered a 4.8 rating. It allows users to seamlessly anonymise photos and video on their iPhones. Users can choose between just blurring their faces to blurring their entire bodies to hide tattoos and other identification marks. Additionally, users can either choose to anonymise images using a simple blur, noise or solid colours.
Apart from anonymising images, this app can also be used for distorting audio, which basically anonymises a user's sound in a video clip. There is also a split screen tool in the app that can be used to control how much of the frame is anonymized to perform interviews while protecting sources.
The app does all the processing in images and videos in real-time using on-device machine learning and computer vision technology, which ensures that the data is untraceable from the beginning. Furthermore, all processing and storage is done locally, which ensures that nothing is stored on the cloud and hence is untraceable.
What makes this app a winner is the fact that it not only anonymises images and videos but it also scraps all the metadata, including time, data and location, from the image of the video that is being processed. This further ensures that the users' identity cannot be traced even if the device is confiscated.
The founders developed this app as a tool for journalists, whistleblowers, researchers, and activists ‘who need to record sensitive information while protecting themselves and their sources.' “In an age of growing facial recognition use, this app helps you resist against the erosion of our right to privacy,” the app says in its app store description.