A new camera app has been released for iOS that, unlike basically every other photography app, is designed to hide the photo’s subject rather than highlight them. Called Anonymous Camera, this app works to protect the people captured in a video or photo by blurring or otherwise hiding their faces — or, in cases where it is necessary, by removing their bodies entirely.
There are times when you may need to interview someone or take a picture, but hide someone featured in the content for their sake. This could include interviews with someone who wishes to remain private, protecting whistleblowers, or simply hiding the faces of protesters and activists so that facial recognition technology can’t be used to identify them.
Anonymous Camera is a free app that can perform these actions, as well as entirely removing the subject’s body in cases where they have other identifiers like tattoos. The app is free to download, though there’s also a Pro version priced at $2 that includes watermark-free video recording.
The app utilizes machine learning and facial recognition to identify the subjects and hide or obscure them, assuming the number of people in the image or video is small enough (the app can’t handle large groups). The detection and anonymization take place locally on the device, avoiding the potential security issues associated with the cloud.
Users are given different options for hiding subjects — for example, a solid circle can be placed over the subject’s face rather than using blurring, which can potentially be de-anonymized with the right technology. The app also supports split-screen video recording so that the subject of an interview can be hidden while the host is clearly visible. The app is available for iOS now; it’s unclear whether an Android version is planned.