Show and Tell 13:
Protest Tools for Anonymity

Cities across the United States and places beyond have come together to show solidarity in the protests for George Floyd and against racism and police brutality.

As social media and social justice converge at this time of action, you may find the resources in this Show and Tell helpful to maintain anonymity and protect protesters' identities when sharing images. 

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As you attend a vigil or protest, you may feel compelled to document it, whether to show solidarity or to show the real face of what’s happening. If you do share images, be mindful of those around you. To keep your friends safe, use these tools created by allies to blur faces and delete revealing data.

The first resource, Image Scrubber by Everest Pipkin effectively scrubs your photos of Exif metadata and blurs faces.

Black Lives Matter protest in the street with signs as dark ovals blur their faces.Steve Sanchez Photos / Shutterstock.com

Metadata is information stored in images that show the location, time, and device on which the image was taken. This information can be used to tie you to a protest or a time past curfew. You can also use Image Scrubber to blur faces or paint over them for added security.

Image Scrubber can be accessed via your desktop computer or phone and used offline. According to Pipkin: “All processing happens directly in the browser—no information is stored or sent anywhere.”

This is an open resource project on Github, allowing for collaboration and improvement.

Pipkin has also compiled this useful list of resources for how to maintain your anonymity online and minimize your digital footprint. 

Body Blur by Xach Branch is a face filter created for use on Instagram, a platform that has become a tool to share information and footage from the protests.

A photo taken with the Body Blur Instagram filter. The image is a selfie in front of a window, but the person is blurred with pixelated squares.

Body Blur blurs the body and face of everyone in frame and can be used on the front- and back facing camera of a phone, and Instagram Live. It does not remove metadata, but it comes with instructions on how to do so: by posting screenshots or screen recordings of the original footage. 

Utilize these tools created by allies to stay safe. We at Special Special think they are strong examples of individuals using their specific skills to help.

At Special Special, we have compiled a list of resources to help, and to make change. Whether you are in a position to donate money or time, you can find organizations to interact with here: Anti-Racism Resources

Most of these resources were originally shared by our extended community, and we are grateful for all those who circulate information and resources. We will continue to update the list.

Black Lives Matter!
Stay safe.

Use the work:
Everest Pipkin is a software artist from Texas, based in Pittsburgh, PA.

Xach Branch is a filmmaker based in Northern New Mexico.  

 

For Show and Tell, Special Special invites a selection of artists to produce or share work that can be viewed in the browser, downloaded, or streamed. The work is presented as a series of digital exhibitions periodically delivered to email inboxes.

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