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Tuesday, 09 October 2007


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So now exhibitionist pedophiles will just cut out their faces and replace them with a blank square that can't be unscrambled. The unscrambling technology seems remarkable, and perhaps it will improve our tools for creating and eliminating blur, but as far as law enforcement goes, it seems pretty easy to defeat.

Yes, it's perhaps too bad that they publicised this new anti-twirl technology they've developed. There are many, many undefeatable methods of obscuring part of an image as I thin we all know. Oh well, at least with luck they'll catch this guy and any other twirly-faced perps out there, which after reading the article appears to be the point.

Funny they couldn't fix the red-eye while they were at it, though.

The point is to try driving criminals into a corner until they run out of options. I am (fortunately) not too familiar with such peoples' fantasies, but assume for a moment that it includes picturing themselves with their victims. If we don't allow them to do that, we may at the very least deprive them of some of the value that such images have to them. This could have an impact on the whole scene. Anything, no matter how small, that makes their lives harder can only be a good thing, but it is just one out of many weapons and strategies in the arsenal of the good guys.

but hopefully a myriad of these beasts _already_ online can be busted.

Well, I'm really pleased that the police are doing this. I hope that they have archived material that can be used to nail people who may now be cutting out their faces, or suchlike.

I do get quite upset about these pathological people, because I have children of my own, and my job entails working with children: it makes me very aware of how very vulnerable they are.

It could be said that it's a perfect example of the folly of relying on photoshop to save your skin.

What I want to know is, how does their `computer program' differ from any other swirl filter in PS with the rotation set the opposite way, and how much tax-payers' money did it cost to "develop" a home-grown version?

From what I have read in the news, no new software was written. Instead it is a standard Photoshop effect, but run in reverse (a negative value was entered).

Regardless, this guy is going to jail.


Actually the unscrambling technology seems to be nothing more than the reversed photoshop twirl filter...

read more in this BoingBoing post: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/10/08/untwirling-photo-of.html

I can't believe some of you folks. We've got a pedophile on the run, soon to be identified, and all you can do is complain how the image was unscrambled? C'mon...priorities, people. Priorities.

As for the unscrambling being nothing more than a simple negative twirl, give it a shot. It does work a bit, but the results fall far short of the image that law enforcement came up with. So I seriously doubt it's as simple as just a simple twirl.

Wow, that was kind of scary! In that picture he looks a lot like someone that I know. I went to the Interpol website to look at the other 3 pictures, and thankfully it is not him!
I have to agree a bit with what Chuck said about priorities. And if these were your kids or your friend's kids, I think you (most anybody who posted) would have a very different (and less petty) perspective. I don't mean to be a jerk here, but really... WTF!?!?!?
Sometimes I'm just baffled by people's "priorities."

Dear Chuck,

I couldn't resist hacking a bit, either. Yup, it's a twirl...


... there are least least three and possibly four different radial zones of twirling. Or else the criminal used a radial gradient mask to vary the effect.

Simply untwirling it in Photoshop will not work, no matter what radius mask you use, because it's not the result of a uniform/single application of the twirl filter. A simple untwirling will get you a first approximation that makes the boundaries clearer and also provide a bit of secondary evidence that the criminal did more than just one twirl.

The bloggers who are claiming this is a trivial unscrambling are either a LOT better at this than I am... or a lot worse. I'm willing to allow for the former possibility [modest grin].

As for the folks who think this should have been kept secret... OK, then how do you CATCH the guy?! All you've got is an anonymous photo, but few other leads. You need to publicize his face to find him. And as soon as you publicize the photo, you've publicized the fact that the photo can be descrambled to the pedo community (those folks are vile, but they ain't all stupid).

There's no added security from keeping the existence of the method secret. Not in the real world.

(note: you don't need his face to convict him-- body features are more than sufficient.)

pax / Ctein

This guy has just been identified. He is in BIG trouble: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21307230/

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