Keep Your Face To Yourself Thanks

Keep Your Face To Yourself Thanks
It's 2024: privacy features should be baked into the operating system for photo and video sharing.

It shouldn't be so time consuming to protect everyone else's privacy.

Video filters and effects on Snapchat and TikTok can turn us into superheroes, give us makeup and a more chiseled jaw, or rearrange our facial features. All in real time.

@bigdirtyfry You know I am that girl #fyp #hotguyedits #hotguychallenge ♬ IT GIRL (Sped up Version) - Aliyah's Interlude

You know what I want? Use those powers to blur faces in any video.

We have all the tools at our disposal already. Both the Pixel and iPhone support changing focus / portrait mode after a photo has been taken. To artificially blur a background (or foreground, if you wish), and set the amount.

Our built in photo apps can recognise faces, even as they age, grow a beard, or lose their hair.

Nothing stops us opening a photo and running a digital marker over some faces to hide them. Or using apps that make this even quicker. But try doing this in video, and we shift up a gear.

Above: it could be as simple as this.

Bonus Round: Voices and Audio

For bonus points: give us more control over audio when shared.

How often have you recorded a vibey scene, but had someone holding court off to the side with juicy details they wouldn't want shared.

You can share video muted, or with music overlaid. But maybe you want the fireworks, music, or other general audio, without ruining friendships.

Voice privacy would scramble a voice to make it unclear what is being said, either by removing it altogether or rearranging it.


The main risk for any of these features is if people use consumer level face or voice privacy options assuming they cannot be reverse engineered under any circumstances.

It should be made clear this is for modest level of privacy, not for hiding the identity of a whistleblower. Ideally it won't be obviously exploitable, but we have to be realistic that nothing is perfect short of not sharing anything.

The need for basic tools like audio or video privacy is only going to increase with the popularity of smart glasses and other face-mounted cameras. So let's get the tools in place now, while we still can.

Below video from Episode 535 of Clockwise where this topic came up.

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