DeepNude rise and fall of an app

The app DeepNude

Do you remember the X ray glasses? They were sold by promising to let us see under the clothes. DeepNude is the evolution of the famous X ray glasses of the ’70s, even this app infact promises to create a picture where it’s possible to see under the clothes. In both cases it’s a very fake. Even if DeepNude goes beyond the ephemeral red image.

X ray glasses
X ray glasses

Infact the controversia app creates images of naked women by starting from a picture shoted or downloaded from the web.

But how does DeepNude work?

The software, thanks to an algorithm of artificial intelligence recreates the features of a naked woman, even if to the images is added a sticker with the word “fake”.

It’s able to do it thanks to a librery of up to 10 thousands of female nudes images. It’s so possible to recreate images extremely plausible, because the app is able to find nudes with a really similar body of the one of the picture.

It’s possible so to recreate fake nudes of every person, from celebrities to the neighbour. It isn’t possible, though, to retouch male bodies. Or at least, it will be a mad image with strange breasts.

Rise and fall of an app

It was released the 23rd of June, and it had a massive success. In few hours more than half million of people already downloaded it. But, due to the strong realism of the fake images, since the beginning it made many critics. The outraged reactions were prompt, as much as that the same programmer decided to remove the app after only 4 days from its release.

An example of what DeepNude promised
An example of what DeepNude promised

To notice this app and all the reactions that it was creating was Samantha Cole, editor of Motherboard, the technological section of the website Vice.com. The article made even more publicity to the app and speeded up the process of spreading of the images.

For this reason the creator decided to remove the app from the stores, by saying about its decision:

We never believed that DeepNude would become as viral as to won’t be able to control the traffic […] The abuses’ risks is to high, we don’t want to make money in this way.

The explanations of its creator

We know few about its creator, the website Vice was able to contact it via mail, but to the journalist Cole he asked to be called only Alberto.

Alberto told that he realised the app with an open source software of the University of Berkley, in California. The choice to can edit only women and not men was just about the lack of naked men images in the web.

Even if, rightly, the creator underline how the operation that DeepNude did wasn’t really different than a retouch made with Photoshop. Of course, the application took few seconds, while a handmade retouch takes at least few hours.

Even the quality was reduced compared with a handmade retouch, but a not careful eye would see the fake. But anyway the fact that those images could be spreaded in the web with no control was surely the aspect that was more underestimated.

L'app ledeva i diritti di privacy
The app affected the privacy rights, by making shame to the hit women

Many women felt awkwardness, or they were embarassed by those fake images. Since there arrived the aplogy’s post of its creator, that surely did a noble action to remove the app, by underlining that the world is not able yet to manage an app like DeepNude.

The legal topic

The creator by the way surely underestimated the legal topic. This operation made on an image violates the privacy of the person affected by the fake and it can damage the reputation. Hany Farid, a professor of the Unversity of Berkley, said that we should invent apps and programs able to recognise the fakes (like the idea of Google Fact Check). Their spreading should be hindered by the social networks and this kind of crimes should have dedicated laws.

This post is also available in: itItaliano

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