Edit: thank you to everyone who is helping support our kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/defamer/defamer-preventing-criminals-from-becoming-celebrities?ref=discovery&term=defamer its been a long one guys! I've been answering questions for 4 hours now! I appreciate all the positive (and some negative) feedback! I hope you guys had wonderful Holidays, I'm off to get some rest.
When I was younger I saw a man on TV that had committed a horrible violent crime at a movie theater. I still to this day remember his face very vividly. I thought about it when I got older and I realized I could still remember that mans face, his eye shape, his name, his hair color. Everything. It bothered me a lot.
It bothered me so much I started looking into ways this can be prevented. How could I avoid seeing people like that and giving them space in my brain rent free forever? There are a few options, but all of them virtually beg the media outlets to not show the face (and they still do) or other slow non functioning methods to remove the assailants face and name. I realized that NOBODY had come up with a way to resolve this.
I was laying down one night and I realized that if there was a way to remove all the millions of photos of criminals from the internet, new and old, it would require an army. That's when the idea for DeFamer hit me, we would need an actual mass group of people to help with this project.
The idea is actually really simple, people right click on an image of an alleged criminal and select "Tag as alleged criminal" then it blurs the persons face. You can highlight text and select "Name of assailant" so on and so fourth. It will then begin to blur the image for people across the extension/app.
I'm truly passionate about this project and I'm more than excited to answer any questions you may have, please feel free to ask me anything about the project.
I have been working on DeFamer for approximately 4 years, the initial idea was a reverse image search but that proved to be way more complicated than it appears.
Proof: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/defamer/defamer-preventing-criminals-from-becoming-celebrities?ref=discovery&term=defamer (In the comment section)
This is my sincere attempt to remove the fame and notoriety people think they obtain from doing heinous violent acts.
Given that it’s community driven, do you have any failsafes to prevent this tool from being used to defame or target non-criminal individuals or minority groups? For example, a mass attack that reported pictures of Scarlett Johansson erroneously, thereby profiling her as a criminal and blurring the reported pictures with a “Criminal” tag.
Hey there, that's actually the major issue we aimed to resolve with the software. Our solution was a team of moderators to go through each tagged photo and confirm whether or not it was made in error (or intentionally to troll) or deliberate. By having a 2 step system it protects the software from being abused.
Will this work on certain YouTube "influencers?"
Yes, we intend on adding additional features that will virtually blur any particular group the user decides.
Have you seen the black mirror episode where this dystopian tech was taken to its logical and horrific endpoint? Or otherwise, do you think that hiding information, much like burning books, is just sometimes the answer?
I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I don’t know how to ask this without sounding mean. Forgive me.
How is this helping? Won’t you be missing all the people that really need the service since you have to opt in? It seems like the people that are smart enough to use your service wouldn’t be glorifying shooters anyway.
Hello MonkeyInATopHat, great question, we're hoping that we can get this in the public eye in a big way. In other words, we're hoping that enough people see DeFamer that it makes a change within the mass public and brings attention to this escalating problem.
Has there been any actual studies that correlate in any significant way the showing of a killer's picture or name and any marked increase in such violent acts?
Hello, we cite our resources on our Kickstarter page, please have a look at them and let me know if you have any questions regarding the information available. In other words, yes, we strongly believe based on the research available that there is a direct correlation.
Before I ask my questions, I just want to make it clear that I think a solution to this problem is needed and that the way the media covers incidents like mass shootings needs to change, so I commend you on that.
However, I'm curious if you can expand on how you'll be using $240,000 if you hit your goal. Isn't this effectively a greasemonkey script or a modified version of an adblocker? You just need to maintain a hosted and moderated block list that can be retrieved by the browser extension. Not to mention, the submissions are crowd-sourced. How are you budgeting this money?
Hey there PineCreek, besides the developmental process we would have to have a full team of moderators constantly verifying images to make sure the software isn't being abused by groups or corporations.
We don't intend on monetizing the software in anyway, so this capital will be the only overhead in maintaining and properly monitoring the software.
*edited for clarification
Could this technology be used by governments or corporattions to influence the masses through targeted shielding?
We sure hope not! We're the sole owners and the process of marking images/names is done by the community. We won't be influenced by any big names, we'll stay true to our goal and only do what we came to do. Remove the name/motive/face of criminals.
How would you respond to this? "You cannot negate 'x' if you cannot define 'x'; you cannot defeat evil if you cannot face it."
We can still define 'x' without seeing the face of the person, the information surrounding the event will still be available, we just won't be making them into a celebrity by showing their face and name everywhere. Their actions and the surrounding story would still be publicly available.
How do you plan on doing this -- an extension? Will it be open source and subject to review? Will it require manual tagging of photos or by facial recognition? Everything you're saying you want to do sounds impractical without constant manual work and constant revenue.
Hello, it would be open source. Manual tagging by the community, facial recognition would require too many resources that we don't have access to. And yes, this will be constant work -
I think hiding the shooters identity is a first and important step to trying to pretend this doesn’t happen with an alarming regularity.
Thoughts? Or just prayers?
Neither, we believe the article/news itself should still report on these events. We don't see any positive influence from giving the criminal free rent within our minds by seeing their face over
Ok, lets say the news have shown his face. Aka. News source reveals killers face.
What if I want to see the killer's face because he/she is still on the run on MY computer?
But the community and your moderator group (which sounds like a monopoly on what is a public issue) have blurred his face. Does that mean the community's decision has override my right to see his identity on my screen?
You can unblur at any time, right click and -remove DeFamer, for your local machine, it's user driven, so if you want to remove blurs and add them for your own, by all means you're free to do so!
I would personally never use something to censor my own device. Except adblock. Is that censorship?
It's like AdBlocker, except for criminals. So, the information is still available, you just won't see the ad, that is the person face.
“I... I could still remember his face!”
Give me a fucking break. Are you going to blur the buildings out of the 9/11 footage next?
Kudos on creating a new and innovative way for people to avoid reality at their leisure.
We don't wish to remove any relevant information. The 9/11 footage would still be relevant. It's the people who flew the planes that wouldn't be.
Why do you need a quarter million dollars to do this?
We would have to have round the clock moderators to consistently verify imagery that has been tagged. We are not monetizing the software in anyway, meaning, this is all we have to optimize, maintain, and develop the software forever.
Have you received any support (words or money) from the academic community?
Today is the first day we've gone public, so no, not yet.
could someone that wants to stay anonymous use this on themselves?
That is an incredible question. That would have to be something our team would have to discuss, considering the potential for abuse on something like that.
I fully support this but I've also ran into a problem, we haven't figured out our mass shooter problem. I wish it was possible to not make them famous but also get specific information to help us start combatting the problem here.
What are your thoughts on? I don't want to make them famous but most of them end up dead. I remember that guy too btw. Do you think it's possible to start gathering and publishing scientifically relavent public data without making them famous?
Hello Theend, there are people who research these events and people who specialize in the psychology behind them. I personally believe specialists in the field can analyze these situations without making the persons name and face famous in the process. So, yes, I strongly believe it's possible to continue gathering and publishing scientifically relevant data without making them famous.
Who gets to decide who is a criminal and for what reasons?
I just see the police and governments using this to bury people and cases they don't want made public.
Users can decide whether or not to blur a photo, it's controlled on your end, so if you see something you feel like someone is trying to bury, you can simply un blur it to check
What do you think about the fact that many of the shooters are only looking for attention from the kind of people who are willing to look them up and find out who they are and could give a shit less about the general public knowing their name?
It's extremely complex. We don't have an answer for that. We believe that we're moving toward positive change at the end of the day.
Any idea why people like to idolize shooters and terrorists?
We're not sure, it would appear it's a plethora of things that can influence idolization of a criminal.
One of the major reasons we're creating this software is with the intention of removing some of that idolization. If someone were to do a heinous act like this seeking fame or people to talk about them, this software would virtually remove them and make them unknown.
*edited for clarification
I actually like this idea. Is it only for criminals or can it be for anyone someone may not specifically like? I've always wondered why there isn't something invented yet that you could put in who you DO NOT want to see in your feeds and news sites and they should be removed to avoid distress and continue to keep you blind to them and their headlines. 100% would buy
Yes actually! We're working on adding features like "Celebrity removal" "Political removal" or even simple names. Also, our software will be free on release! We plan to make it publicly available at no cost whatsoever.
so this is less of hiding history and more of trying to remove the idea of "fame" coming from mass attacks.?
That is absolutely correct.
This is an interesting software design concept. My question to you is why do you think shooters are remembered so vividly like how you described, and what impact will it have with your software censoring their names and faces?
We're hoping that by blurring their faces it will discourage other people from fame seeking by doing these violent acts.
I think it was burned into my memory so vividly due to the nature of the crime. I'm an avid theater goer and someone doing that in a place I found so comfortable for so long scarred me. I lived in Colorado at the time that this occurred.
Do you worry about your system being utilized by less altruistic groups to manipulate or create propaganda?
Side note: I love your motivation and I applaud your efforts to combat this issue.
No, our moderators will be diligent and aware that people may attempt to manipulate the user voting system.
This seems like a very innovative solution to the problem.
How big of an impact do you think DeFamer can have on this issue? If I understand correctly, each person has to download it themselves, in which case wouldn't it have trouble spreading?
Do you anticipate having to educate people on the issue in order for them to participate?
That's a complicated question, but ultimately what we would like, is for DeFamer to be used like AdBlocker, a quick 2 second install from the Chrome store and then it's just a simple part of your browser. It's a difficult process but we're doing our best to take a bite out of this issue.
Can you create a software to erase financial debt? Lol