A Web Developer Is Developing an AI Filter to Block Unsolicited Penis Pictures

'Send nudes for science' is the motto for this interesting project.
Fabienne Lang

Sick and tired of receiving unwanted pictures of random men's genitalia, this web developer has decided to do something about it and is asking for more men to send her images.

The reason she's asking for more photos is to create a filter that recognizes and then blurs these unsolicited images. Why haven't tech companies looked at implementing something like this already?


How did the project begin?

Web developer, Kelsey Bressler, received an unwanted image of a stranger's genitals in her Twitter's direct messaging service this month.

Sick and tired of seeing and receiving such unfavorable photos, Bressler created an AI filter that supposedly blocks 95% of explicit images from landing in her inbox, reports the Guardian

In order to fully test out her filter, Bressler created a Twitter account called 'safeDM@showYoDiq and asked men to send her direct messages of their private parts. All in the name of 'science.'

There were some tricky — and entertaining — moments during the project, as one man apparently sent an image of his appendage covered in bright purple glitter, confusing the AI, which up until then had only been 'taught' to recognize flesh-colored photos. 

Is receiving unsolicited private photos a big issue worldwide?

It turns out around 53% of women between 18 and 29-years old have received unwanted images of men's packages, according to a 2017 Pew Research Study on cyber harassment. 

Bressler created her AI filter quickly and easily, which has posed the question as to why tech companies haven't done this themselves. 

Some sites have done a mediocre attempt at best to solve the issue though.

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For example, Twitter has a setting that can block images that other users have selected as 'sensitive content.' However, it's not enough to properly block images landing into your inbox. 

Furthermore, as the action of sending nudes online is not deemed illegal, many big companies are reluctant to put any effort it seems. Also, as companies who aren't publishers are not required to protect their online users, they are free of any responsibility of content shared on their site.

Cracking down on unsolicited nude images

Slowly, some U.S. States and some countries are standing up against cyber-harassment and non-consensual images. For instance, cyber flashing — sending nude images through Apple's AirDrop feature within a 10-meter radius — has been illegal in Scotland since 2010, with Singapore following suit this May.

In the U.S., 46 states do not allow the sharing of nonconsensual pornography. Just this September, Texas created an anti-lewd imagery law.

"Having this bill where it is now illegal to send an unsolicited lewd photo in the state of Texas is like a deterrent, like adding stop signs to the internet,” said Bumble's Chief of Staff, Caroline Ellis Roche.

This new law dictates that a fine of up to $500 has to be paid if an unwanted nude photo is sent. 

The fight seems to be just starting, and it's about time, given how many people of all ages, are now online and sharing images at the press of a button. 

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