Zoom says it's using artificial intelligence to block nudity

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/20/zoom-says-its-using-artifici.html

Zoom, despite having started to take security more seriously, still has an overactive marketing department. What is called “end to end” encryption by them is really just transport layer encryption. “Artificial Intelligence” is likely to be a few “if statements” and some underpaid workers in the Philippines.





I have a lot of colleagues who are using Zoom to teach art classes these days. Assuming the company was able to get this anti-nudity filter to do what it’s purported to do that would royally screw up any attempt to present an art history lecture or conduct a life-drawing session.



Not only that, but end-to-end encryption and AI-powered nudity-blocking are almost certainly incompatible; that sort of detection usually relies on the cloud instead of the client, and you can’t have cloud-based analysis of an end-to-end encrypted stream.

So the headline is really more accurately, “Zoom says it’s watching everybody’s videos”, which is extra worrying given their earlier “accidental” routing of a portion of their traffic through China.


Yes. That’s basically in the first few sentences of the post.
I don’t know why people are hedging on that either. It is incompatible. There’s no way they’d be trying or succeeding in running the “AI” client side.


I’m not sure if combining it with butthole recognition technology to catch perps would put us in the best possible or the worst possible future.


This seems like it would be incredibly easy to stress test…


“We’re out of work and most of us face barriers to accessing sufficient state support, so we put our heads together to design our dream strip club – but online,” says Grace, one of the performers. “Without bosses setting the rules, we can create a safer space, wear what we want, do what we want, invite DJs we trust, and share profits fairly.”
Dancers will be performing on Zoom…”


Hopefully the allow nudity blocking to be optional for the people who welcome nudity in their videos.


maybe they encrypt only the content, not the Meeting names and participant names? Those would have major clues For a simple AI, if accurately selected.

1 Like

Why not use “AI” to block hackers? Maybe use “AI” to run your product management team and address your failed security audits.


I am concerned about where the future of sphincteral imaging will lead us.


Nah. That’s clearly a job for blockchain.



reminds me of when my biology teacher used to have to get me to bypass the web filters so ppl could research

which was a nice feather in the cap when they got mad i also bypassed to play flash games in the library. they weren’t pornographic (well i guess the lemmings is pretty dark) but they just hated the idea i could go off and do anything if they didn’t watch me, regardless of what i actually did

how can you detect the content of a video stream if, as Zoom promises, the signal is encrypted end-to-end?

This brings up the question of the definition of “encryption”. I realize there’s a very clear technical understanding of how it works and is implemented from a computer engineering and science POV, but I wonder how bound to that idea corporations and their marketing departments really are? It just seems this whole area is ripe for abuse. Example: I was at a conference not long ago. Some attorney was speaking about DB records security, and seemed to imply that merely removing a unique ID and individual’s name from a table X, and it’s corresponding foreign key in table Y, was the same as “encrypting the data”. I of course questioned this at the end of the speech, only to realize from his response what I knew when he initially said it: he had not the slightest clue what encryption actually is, and was conflating it with (very weak) obfuscation.

1 Like

Obviously the front side of our drivers licenses will have our face picture and as a secondary security measure the backside of our drivers licenses will have a picture of our butthole. All we need a is a backronymn for goatse.


I’ve been attending multiple life-drawing sessions over Zoom. I don’t think their algorithm works as well as they think.