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

Blurring Faces

Encrypted messaging app Signal has announced a new tool that allows users to blur faces in pictures uploaded to the app from Android and iOS.

The announcement comes in support of the Black Lives Matter protests that have been occurring around the globe.

"At Signal, we support the people who have gone into the streets to make their voices heard," Signal co-founder Moxie Marlinspike wrote in an official update.

"One immediate thing seems clear: 2020 is a pretty good year to cover your face," Marlinspike added, referring to the fact that masks have also become commonplace during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Protecting Identities

The feature allows users to blurs faces by tapping a "Blur" icon. The app can also manually blur other parts of the image.

Domestic surveillance has become a pressing topic as protesters have taken to the streets — and police have fought back with shocking displays of brutality. The news comes after the National Guard and law enforcement were found to be flying surveillance planes above protesters earlier this week.

Stop Gap

Despite the well-meant gesture, blurring won't stop surveillance cameras, police body cameras, and press photographers to also take people's pictures, as The Verge points out.

That point isn't lost on Signal. The company is now looking to distribute "versatile face coverings to the community free of charge," according to the update.

Record numbers of new users have been flooding to Signal to safely and securely keep in touch following the protests.

READ MORE: Signal announces new face-blurring tool for Android and iOS [The Verge]


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