Signal Messaging App Adds Face-Blurring Feature to Hide Identity of Protesters

TOPSHOT - A protester raises a fist near a fire during a demonstration outside the White House over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police in Washington, DC, on May 31, 2020. - Thousands of National Guard troops patrolled major US cities after five consecutive nights …
File Photo: SAMUEL CORUM/AFP via Getty Images

The Signal messaging app introduced a feature this week that will help protesters shield their identities. When activated, the feature uses facial detection technology to automatically blur faces in pictures, hindering law enforcement efforts to identify violent rioters and looters. According to the company, “One immediate thing seems clear: 2020 is a pretty good year to cover your face.”

According to a blog post on the Signal website, a new feature on the smartphone application will make it easier for users to blur faces in photos. Signal, which launched in 2014, offers users greater privacy than other messaging services through encryption technology.

On Wednesday, Signal announced in a blog post that it supports the protesters that have taken to the streets in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

“Right now, people around the world are marching and protesting against racism and police brutality, outraged by the most recent police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” Signal wrote in a blog post. “At Signal, we support the people who have gone into the streets to make their voices heard.”

Signal acknowledged this week that the face-blurring feature was designed to help protesters protect their identities and the identities of others.

Many of the people and groups who are organizing for that change are using Signal to communicate, and we’re working hard to keep up with the increased traffic. We’ve also been working to figure out additional ways we can support everyone in the street right now.

One immediate thing seems clear: 2020 is a pretty good year to cover your face.

The latest version of Signal for Android and iOS introduces a new blur feature in the image editor that can help protect the privacy of the people in the photos you share. Now it’s easy to give every face a hiding place, or draw a fuzzy trace over something you want to erase. Simply tap on the new blur tool icon to get started.

To ensure privacy, Signal noted that the face-blurring function is performed on the user’s smartphone. This means that the original image will not be transmitted to Signal’s servers.

Breitbart News reported this week that the ride-sharing company Lyft asked their customers to be “part of the solution” to “systemic racism.”


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