Signal is adding face blurring for your photos - here's why

As people around the US protest police brutality and the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, there's definitely an interest in maintaining the privacy of those who show up to these rallies. The face masks necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic can help in that regard, but Signal is taking things one step further today by introducing a new blur tool in its app.

Signal says that many people are already using its app to communicate and organize, but in the latest version for Android and iOS, you'll find that the app sports a Blur tool icon that you can tap to automatically detect and blur faces.

Signal makes it clear in a blog post today that this tool is not 100% accurate when it comes to detecting faces, so if you've got a complex image you're trying to alter, you might find that some faces slip through the cracks. If that happens, you have the option of manually using the blur brush to cover faces, leaving no one exposed in the images you snap.

The update isn't live just yet, but Signal says that it's been submitted for approval on both iOS and Android. That should mean that we'll see it rolling out to devices soon, but given that Signal has no say in how long the approval process takes, it couldn't give us a more specific time frame for release.

Signal closed its blog post today by making an announcement none of us expected, revealing that it's working on making "versatile face coverings" that it will give to the community free of charge. "We've been working to find a manufacturer capable of producing high volumes of face coverings in the current global circumstances," Signal said. "We're finalizing a few remaining details and will provide more information soon." We'll let you know when that happens, so stay tuned for more.