Privacy-focused messaging app Signal could make blurring faces out from an image as easy as a few taps. Its developers are rolling out an update that features the new editing tool.
The company acknowledged the urgency of protest movements this year — most recent and prominent are the ones against police killings of Black citizens including that of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd — and that supporters wanted to share what’s going on while also not potentially compromising their security. While social platforms already provide photo editing tools that can obscure one’s identity to some degree, we infer that Signal’s face-blurring tool should be more reliable and easy to use.
Left: Faces blurred as detected by system / Right: Additional manual blurring
When submitting an image to send to a chat thread, users can hop into the editor and turn on Blur mode. The app uses system libraries to scan for faces; an admittedly imperfect process which is why users can also tap and trace their own smudge paths. It’s promised that all processing will be kept on-system, not sent online.
The feature is set to roll out to all users as soon as the App Store and Play Store approve the update. We were able to use the blur tool with beta version 4.61.5, available from APK Mirror.