Video Privacy App 'Can’t Post It' Means Well, but Could Be Misused

Some videos are posted no matter what

  • Utilizing the camera flash to ruin visuals and licensed music to disrupt audio (and discourage posting online) make sense.
  • Though the strobe effect may not accomplish much in daylight, and sound can be removed.
  • There’s also the possibility of people misusing the app to purposely suppress videos of important events.
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Internet videos have pretty much become ubiquitous over the past several years—especially now that so many people are always carrying around pocket-sized HD cameras. Naturally, many of those videos are filmed in public, and sometimes the people being filmed may not want to be. This can lead to some dicey situations where someone doesn’t want to be filmed, while many US states often see being in public as an exception to privacy.

Can’t Post It is an app designed to give people a non-physical way to discourage being filmed—and to discourage the public sharing of the video they never wanted to be in. It works by activating a smartphone’s camera flash to create a strobe effect intended to disrupt filming on the visual end. Then, for the audio side of things, it plays a licensed music track that will probably get flagged for copyright if the video is posted online.

"I love the idea of protecting people’s privacy," Sammy Shayne, Chief Executive Officer for streamer talent agency Couch Fame, told Lifewire in an email, "especially since several of our talented streamers have had their content stolen and uploaded elsewhere in recent months."

Possible Workarounds

There are some potential problems with an app like Can’t Post It, however. Experts believe that while the app is a good idea on paper, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to work around the obstacles it creates. For example, the strobing camera flash effect would affect video clarity, but it would be most effective in low-light conditions. Videos being shot during the day may not be impacted much unless the light is being shined directly at the lens at close range.

Seismic sound wave

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The app’s licensed music track, called "Death of a Post," may not be as direct as a camera flash (under the right conditions), but it’s a bit more heavy-handed in its approach.

"The difference between our song and others is that when the big publishers register their songs in the ContentID system, most select the profit sharing option," explained Dylan Sterman, founder of Samson Technologies LLC and creator of Can't Post It, in an email interview with Lifewire. "[That] means a video that features even a portion of a copyrighted song will feature an ad, and the revenue from that ad will go to the owner, but the video will stay up. ‘Death of a Post,’ on the other hand, has a blanket ban on its use, so any video will not be able to stay posted if it has the digital fingerprint of our exclusive song."

With internet videos often having to deal with copyright claims, using a licensed audio track in such a manner does make sense. However, as Shayne pointed out, "The video could easily be muted to avoid any copyright claims."

Eric Florence, cybersecurity analyst for digital security website SecurityTech, agreed, telling Lifewire that, "Can’t Post It is a good idea on paper, but the audio can be stripped out with editing. The only way to maintain your privacy in this way is by living in a less populated area."

So, while the licensed audio may give the person doing the recording a moment’s hesitation, if they didn’t care about audio, they could remove it and post the video anyway.

Unintended Side Effects

Potential for misusing Can’t Post It also exists, according to experts. Anyone with the app could turn it on in an attempt to ruin someone else’s video for a prank, or even use it to get in the way of media coverage.

Couple Enjoying Conversation While Friends Photobomb Them On A Bus Ride

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"This app is going to be used by people to disrupt and annoy others who are trying to accomplish something," Shayne said. "It won’t deter unwanted public video, except in the case of disrupting unsuspecting strangers."

"Unfortunately, since this app is not going to deter videographers," Florence added, "I see it being misused to annoy people working on video projects in public places."

They’re hypothetical situations (also not ideal) but not impossible. If someone were to use Can’t Post It to try to suppress important or personal videos they may not even appear in themselves, could they be stopped?

When asked about this possible misuse, Sterman told Lifewire, "We have no control over what videos get blocked, and it does not concern us as a company because part of our core mission is to be neutral. What our users do with the Can’t Post It app after purchase is 100% their own personal responsibility."

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