Redesigning the Camera Phone to Protect Privacy

Have you ever wanted to post a photo to Facebook from your mobile phone, but weren’t sure if someone in that photo would mind their face going online? Did you take a great picture of your kid at the playground that you want to tweet out to the world, but caught some other kid in the shot, and are worried about their parent freaking out about online predators? Maybe you are worried about all the data that is being logged in your photos, like the exact GPS coordinates of where you took the picture, and don’t know how to disable that feature. If any of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, and you have an Android phone, then you should try out a new app my team at the Guardian Project just launched called ObscuraCam.

In short, the app integrates with your camera and gallery, to allow you to remove, pixelize or disguise faces of people in your photos, before you upload them to Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. It also cleans out all the secret, hidden extra data that gets stored in your photos, like your GPS location, the make and model of the camera phone and sometimes even a unique serial number identifying your phone. While our original goal was to build an app that supported human rights activists in places like Iran and China, we really do think this app has broader relevance to everyday people (like YOU!) who want to have a bit more power of controlling what gets revealed, analyzed and indexed when they share their photos online.

Read the post on the Guardian Project blog, to get a more in-depth idea about what we’ve done, and where we are going with this project. This “v1” release is just for still photos, but we are quickly moving on to support video, as well as additional obscura filters too!

ObscuraCam is pretty powerful, in that it can automatically detect multiple faces in a photo, and then allow you to selectively choose how to filter those faces. You can also filter out t-shirts, signs, sensitive documents on a desk or just about anything you don’t want a human or machine to be able to see.

You can even have some fun putting on a silly disguise, which may still allow a human to recognize the person in the photo, but would most likely stop Facebook or Google’s current recognition software from figuring out who you are.

So, please – try it out, have some fun, and post some pictures.

Just search for “Obscura” in the Android Market or install it directly from the web.

Current TV learns to “Listen”

Cruxy friend’s Rikshaw Films participated in Current TV’s coverage of the U.S. New Hampshire Presidential Primaries as “CJ’s”, short for Collective Journalists. You might remember our promotion on this blog of Rikshaw’s film and website The Listening Project a few months ago.

Listener Han-shan in Afghanistan

You can view the Current “Pod” here. Overall its a refreshing take on the usual mainstream coverage. The bit with Rikshaw is about halfway through:

You can visit the film’s website with more links to Current’s coverage here:

If you’d like to see the film at a festival, check the list below to see if its coming to a theater near you!

Upcoming screenings for The Listening Project

Beloit International Film Festival, Beloit, WI: Sat., Jan. 19th 2pm, Wilson Theater
Oxford Film Festival, Oxford, MS: Friday Feb. 8th @ 5pm, at Malco’s Oxford Studio Cinema
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Missoula, MT: Feb. 14-20, at The Wilma Theater (Date & Time TBA)
Cowley Community College, Wichita, KS, Feb. 21st (Venue & Time TBA)
Omaha Film Festival, Omaha, NE: Wednesday Feb. 20th @ 6pm & Saturday Feb. 23rd @ 2pm, both at Westwood Cinemas
Bentley College, Waltham, MA Feb. 25th (Venue & Time TBA)
Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA, Feb. 26th (Venue & Time TBA)
Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, Feb. 27th (Venue & Time TBA)
Durango Independent Film Festival, Durango, CO: Friday Feb. 29th @ 12pm & Saturday Mar. 1st @ 9pm, both at Gaslight Cinemas
Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona, AZ, Feb. 27th–Mar. 2nd (Venue & Time TBA)
Endicott College, Beverly, MA, 1st week of March (Venue & Exact Date/Time TBA)

Artist Spotlight: Isisip – Piano Music Verite!

New Cruxy artist Isisip came to our attention when we noticed a few of her music videos appearing on the site. Now to be honest, they are hardly videos in the sense of what you’d see on MTV (well, when they actually show videos I mean). They are more documentary or “verite” perhaps – what you see is what you get. An woman, playing a keyboard in her room, performing songs for you without fuss or muss. There was something charming and authentic about it to us, so we had to share it with you.

We asked Isisip to tell us a bit more herself:

Music has been a big part of my life, I played a few instruments before, the piano was my first instrument. I have released my first CD in August 2007 and have been distributing my music through

The following is some info about me and the CD:

Ip Chui Han Amy (isisip) was born in Hong Kong. She started to play the piano around the age of 7. She listens to and was influenced by artists from Otis Spann, Charlie Parker to Kitaro and Sakamoto.
Amy holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music of Boston, USA.

Watch Isisip’s Music Videos here on Cruxy.

New Documentary ponders the “Prince of Peace”

A new documentary film Prince of Peace – God of War has just been released on Cruxy and announced on The Movie Blog:

Prince of Peace – God of War is a non-sensationalized visual record of Director John Campea’s (a former evangelical Christian and minister) journey across North America, speaking with historians, professors and religious leaders about these issues. The basic question is a simple one: “Should Christians kill people?”

How did this faith, known and identified for its non-violent beliefs, go on to conduct the crusades, the inquisitions, witch hunts, and today have 87% of white evangelical Christians support President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq? How did this religion, founded by a Pacifist and known (even criticized) for non-violence, become a religion known for its aggression, war, political power and embracing of violence?

You can view a preview and download the film here on Cruxy