A brand new tool is making the rounds on the internet this week amid calls by activists on social media to refrain from posting photos of protestors' faces taken during marches for George Floyd. The free service, developed by software artist Everest Pipkin, works by blurring images of faces uploaded to the site and removes any identifying data that accompanies such photos.
The tool, dubbed "Image Scrubber" on the site, even works offline — "on a phone you can load the page or add it to the homescreen, then turn on airplane mode (or turn off wifi/data) before opening any pictures." It's truly a useful tool when considering that photographs are one of the key ways protestors are able to document the ongoing demonstrations, as well as identify cops during instances of brutality or related misconduct. By having a way for photographers to blur faces of surrounding demonstrators, an extra layer of security is provided to those wanting to hide their identity and protect their safety.
Passing along this metadata image scrubber for no particular reason at all https://t.co/2L0KlckGfh
Once you've uploaded your photo to Image Scrubber, you can elect to either paint or blur a specified area to anonymize an attendee. Existing metadata is also "scrubbed" from the uploaded photo, which includes specifics like date and time that follow the file from the original camera and can be reaccessed by users downloading copies from sites.
"All processing happens directly in the browser — no information is stored or sent anywhere," Pipkin writes on the homepage for the GitHub tool. Many are citing it as a key tool for those wishing to both safely and ethically cover the protests occurring nationwide in honor of the death of George Floyd.