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AI-enhanced messaging privacy

Inspired by a review video of the Rabbit R1 pocket assistant
  (+8, -1)
(+8, -1)
  [vote for,

Messaging privacy is becoming something of a hot topic these days. Many apps boast end to end encryption, some have a self destruct feature that irretrievably deletes messages after a set time, and some even prevent your device from taking screenshots. But they all share one glaring flaw: there is nothing to prevent you from pointing another camera at your screen and taking a picture of the messages with that other device. This idea aims to plug that gap in messaging security.

The aforementioned Rabbit R1 has a rather neat feature. The onboard AI assistant can actually SEE through the camera and describe, with impressively detailed accuracy, everything in its field of view. Ask it "what am I looking at?" and it will tell you how many people are in the room, what color their shirts are, if there's a dog or cat, etc.

This got me thinking, such an assistant could be baked into a privacy-focused messaging app to use your device's front facing selfie camera to scan for other cameras, or devices likely to have one, which are facing it, and turn the screen black or blur the messages if such is detected.

21 Quest, May 10 2024

Rabbit R1 review https://youtu.be/dd...si=EFu7yrETCnZsOzPk
As it is, not a very recommendable product... but that ability to see and describe what is in front of it is what I'm intrigued by. [21 Quest, May 10 2024]


       [-] I'd rather just have it give a subtle alert if it detects cameras, other monitoring, or shoulder surfing. That much is useful. But I don't want it to blank my screen - interrupting my work and letting a spy know they've been spotted.   

       Simply privacy films the limit visibility angles should be good enough for most uses.
a1, May 11 2024

       Well, the idea is that if YOU are trying to take a picture of a private conversation, YOU are the one the app is stopping from doing so, even if you're party to the conversation. It protects the person you are conversing with.
21 Quest, May 11 2024

       Ah, I see, I think. At least with my one good eye.   

       Don't some apps already have the ability to prevent screen shots and screen recording? I know the last time I tried to save something from one of my favorite porn sites, er, I mean steaming video of some kind, the saved clip was blacked out.
a1, May 11 2024

       Yes, but those can be circumvented by pointing an external camera at the screen, something Samsung at least is acutely aware of because the Galaxy Enhance app has a specific editing tool to remove those wavy lines that appear on a screen when viewed through a camera.
21 Quest, May 11 2024

       It would be totally ineffective, but it's an idea. [+]
Voice, May 11 2024

       My thanks for the bun, but how would it be ineffective?
21 Quest, May 11 2024

       Put a poster up with some black on it and your proposed program won't be able to tell which patch of black is a lens. Even a human wouldn't be able to tell.
Voice, May 11 2024

       Sure makes it a lot harder though, especially in the heat of the moment.
21 Quest, May 11 2024

       Novel. Wonder if it would be defeated by phone cases?
RayfordSteele, May 12 2024

       Possibly, but an AI could be trained to spot the camera layouts on literally every smartphone and tablet ever made. You MIGHT get away with a camera cover made of tinted or colored glass to completely obscure it, but those don't *currently* exist to my knowledge.
21 Quest, May 13 2024

       Added complexity & insane power consumption for little to no functional gain. Ideal match for modern social interactions [+]
sweet, May 13 2024

       It shouldn't blur the information on your screen. As [a1] points out, this alerts the attacker that their camera has been spotted. Rather, it should subtly change the text on the screen to alter its meaning, thus causing the spy to misunderstand your plans.
hippo, May 13 2024

       That's so evil, I love it!
21 Quest, May 13 2024

       Couldn't this all be resolved by re-introducing that height of '80's fashion, enormous shoulder pads?
DrBob, May 13 2024

       No, because that doesn't stop YOU, the message recipient, from recording the message.
21 Quest, May 13 2024

       Ah. Got it. Sorry! Couldn't you get round this by turning the camera off or sticking a bit of tape over it. Or by taping a picture of an empty room over the lens of the camera (as seen in "The Fifth Element")?
DrBob, May 13 2024

       That's where the AI comes in. If the camera view appears to be obstructed, it acts as though there is likely a camera and obscures the screen. Taping a picture over it would decrease the ambient light detected to a suspicious level, and have the same result. No security system is full proof, but this'll sure help.
21 Quest, May 13 2024

       Let me see if I have this straight: This is to keep ME (not someone else) from taking a photo of MY own phone's screen, supposedly for someone else's peace of mind?
a1, May 13 2024

       Yes, for exactly the same reason many apps prevent you from taking screenshots. It's just taking that same security concept to the next level.
21 Quest, May 13 2024


       " It would be totally ineffective, but it's an idea."
normzone, May 17 2024

       Seems trivial to defeat with glasses that have a camera in them, or plush toys with cameras in the eye, or any number of hidden camera set ups.
tatterdemalion, May 17 2024

       Just about every set of camera-enabled glasses on the market today has a blinking LED that indicates when it's recording, and the top performing ones can detect when the LED is obscured and won't work. To really make things fun, it could be programmed to notify the other person if its had to obscure your screen more than a certain number of times, indicating you may be attempting to deliberately record the conversation.
21 Quest, May 17 2024


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