Taking a naked selfie? Your phone should step in to protect you

“What should smartphone makers do about nude selfies?,” Farhad Manjoo wonders for The New York Times. “Should they encourage us all to point our phones away from our unclothed bodies — or should they instead decide that naked selfies are inevitable, and add features to their products that reduce the chance that these photos could get hacked?”

“Don’t scoff. In the wake of the release of several female celebrities’ nude images, it’s time that the tech industry begin taking the naked-photo security problem seriously,” Manjoo writes. “We should try harm reduction: Phone makers should build their products with the expectation that lots of us will take indelicate photos of ourselves and our loved ones. When we do so, our phones should step in with options for protecting such photos, and should apply extra scrutiny when the people who are snapping them are underage.”

“When you point your phone at your naked form and snap a shot, it could give you a warning,” Manjoo writes. “This is technically plausible. In recent years, computers have become quite good at recognizing specific features in images, including faces and cats. Recognizing the nude form is a comparatively easy task.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That would give facial-recognition a whole new meaning.


  1. The fact that these were naked photos completely obscures the real issue — the security procedures enacted to prevent third parties from hacking into your cloud account. If a company like Apple, Dropbox, Google, etc. is going to offer secure online storage, then that company needs to implement full security procedures that prevent a hacker from being able to constantly try to guess your password. And this may be where Apple failed, by not thoroughly testing the ability of a hacker to make hundreds or thousands of password guesses and not locking down the account as a result (if that is how the breaches happened).

    Smart phone makers should do absolutely nothing to prevent you from taking a naked photo/video if that is what you choose to do. What they should do is implement and thoroughly test access procedures so that third parties cannot break in, or at least make it so confoundingly difficult that they simply won’t bother.

  2. The article is not proposing the phone not take a nudie pic, or the phone warning you not to. But to detect the situation of a truly private photo and then easily offer to tag it as private, and treat it that way. (no GPS, no automated backup/cloud upload, password protect) You can still send it to a friend or post it on line, but automated mechanisms won’t back it up or store it to the cloud.

    It’s similar to cameras that have eye and mouth face recognition, knowing when you smile autofocus on the face, etcetera. It will just detect larger fields of flesh tones or even additional body parts and as a matter of context and then go from there. It’s not judging you or conscious of your actions. A logical process.

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