back to article A proposal to beat below-the-belt selfies: Crowdsourced machine learning using victims' image stashes

It’s often said that the second most important job in Australia – behind Prime Minister – is captain of the Australian men’s cricket team. The last holder of that office recently resigned in disgrace after it emerged a flurry of texts he exchanged with a staffer crossed the line from racy to harassment as one message included …

  1. Persona Silver badge

    Timescales

    "Yeah," she sighed. "I reckon it should only take about a week."

    Somewhat ambitious considering it needs to intercept ALL email and message flows if it's going have any effect.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Timescales

      I assume the week was intended to gather the training data.

      As to intercepting all message flows the article contains this: "I reckon it would be dead simple to build a filter on the receiver." The interception takes place on the receiving device which means the user downloads the filter(s) as required. This has the advantage that, given the tendency to remote medical consultations, there may be a legitimate use case for such traffic.

    2. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Timescales

      I am more of a puss y lover, but it seems El Reg has a lot of dic k lovers - no problem, each one has its particular taste.

      Imagine one can beat NSA/CIA/FBI illegal surveillance, cash out from it, keep all its assets and tools encrypted, and still get tools and equipment from the forementioned agencies.. and still alive !!

      It take a lot of brains, decryption only after implants removed, cameras dodged, in the right ship, with the right crew.

      1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Timescales

        Wow! Can I have some of what you have been drinking?

        1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Timescales

          It has to be AManFromMars in his Christmas disguise

          1. Scott 26

            Re: Timescales

            I did have to doublecheck the username

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Not at all

      It would simply need to be built into the system's image rendering code, then it would affect all apps at once. Sure, some apps might use its own rendering code but doing so would risk women quit using that app if they were protected from unwanted dick pics elsewhere - so all apps would quickly be forced to either use the system's image rendering code or at least call the code that does the dick pic detection.

      For the small number of "wanted" dick pics (which based on what I've heard from a few women, the majority of which are being forwarded their friends to laugh at) the system could let you click on the duck, ask "are you sure?" and then show the pic.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Not at all

        That would be absolutely disastrous at this time of year. How is one supposed to pick which turkey to get from the ones hanging up in the butcher's?

        1. DS999 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Not at all

          You tap on the duck and hope you get to look at a turkey!

    4. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Timescales

      You know what you get after 5 days of intensive cock training? A weekend.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    I have never really understood bloke's need for sending selphallic (selphies) messages to women they fancy.

    I prefer to save such viewing for those private moments so that I can share with the lady in question either gasps of admiration or laughter, depending on the impression given.

    What makes so many blokes think they are going to make a favourable impression based on an anatomical photo?

    Note: selphies was coined by a female friend of mine who had been on the receiving end of a series of dick pics from an admirer, she signed him up for every penis enlargement ad she could find. He desisted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I guess they see it as the equivalent of going up to someone in a club and saying fancy a shag and not the ornithological type. Depending on the response they would have an idea of whether they would be successful. There are many idiots out there that don't consider other peoples feelings.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      As far as I can gather from women who date men, they don't care what it looks like. Any time I've heard them describe how good or otherwise their boyfriend/date is, it just doesn't get mentioned.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Makes sense. I can't imagine someone saying "he had a right bulbous bellend" or "his shaft was so good it could star in a 1970's blaxploitation movie".

        1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
          Devil

          blaxploitation usually gives good return in box offices and in fines.... Indeed a good business !!!

    3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      The reality, even a double Polaroid:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ofl_UP3apM

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        I knew exactly the clip that was gonna be even before clicking on it!

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Me too.

          "Is that normal?"

          "What, taking pictures of it and showing them to your mates? No it isn't!"

          1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

            So last millennium...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My son got a D.P. forwarded by a female acquaintance.

      She had added a scaled up ruler next to the dick pic she received, and forwarded the "enhanced" photo to all and sundry mutual acquaintances.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Thus breaching revenge porn laws.

        Just don't email pictures of penis.

  3. Andy Mac

    Can I propose the substitute picture be of a squirrel?

    An example of squirrel-replacement can be found at https://what-if.xkcd.com/98/.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      I'd forgotten that item and was amused to reread

      That said, drinking or eating blood is not unheard of. It's a taboo in many cultures, but the British eat "black pudding"

      Looks like Randall isn't into a proper full English.

      1. Col_Panek

        Flemish eat blood sausage. I had plenty of it as a kid in Detroit.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can I propose the substitute picture be of a squirrel?

      Excellent idea. So when I now send tomorrows pictures of ducks on the canal, or squirrels in the park, out to my Duck & Squirrel enthusiasts group, as is, quite frankly, quite normal practise ... what *are* they going to think?

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "There's not a huge amount of medical literature on the subject [of drinking blood], but anecdotal evidence from online forum posts suggests that any normal person who tries to drink more than about a pint of blood will vomit:"

      What kind of normal person tries to drink more than about a pint of blood?

  4. Totally not a Cylon Silver badge
    Coat

    Replace with cat pic?

    If the pics were replaced with cute cat pics then ......

    the system would be turning 'dick-pics' into 'pussy-pics'.....

    <watches tumbleweed blow through accompanied by sound of crickets>

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

        I can go one better

        Risky Click of the Day. Do you risk it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

          Nixon? I'm disappointed.

          Back to the subject at hand, as it were, I have a lady friend who is a bartender. She and her female friends are in a group chat that consists of nothing but unsolicited dick pics that they have recieved. If I was sure that my s.o. wasn't part of that chat group, I'd send her a photo*.

          * - technically this wouldn't count as unsolicited because she did proposition me for sex several years ago.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

            As far as I remember, GDPR does specify a time limitation on A N Other handing your personals. So what I mean is it's time to let it g... that's not what I want to say, I think.

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

          @AC Certainly a dodgy Dick pic .. though I cheated and did bitly preview (add + to end of any bitly url for a preview of what it links to)

          1. Death Boffin
            Coat

            Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

            So you've been dickrolled?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Sorry, it just had to be done!

              Click bait, dick bait, master baiter. Etc.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or, don't bother trying to use technology and just prosecute for indecent exposure under section 66 of the Sexual offences act 2003.

    1)A person commits an offence if—

    (a)he intentionally exposes his genitals, and

    (b)he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

    (2)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

    (a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

    (b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.]

    If you have a picture sent from the offender to somebody else who is caused distress then the offence has been committed and there is no defence; so people couldn't reasonably get around it.

    Stories about people racking up fines of several thousand quid an offence (or winding up in prison) would surely deter people reasonably quickly; the whole revenge porn thing died a death fairly quickly when people started getting fines and jail time and I can't see why this should be any different.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Just prosecute.

      Uh huh. And after the cops laugh their black little hearts out and walk off, what do you do then?

      I don't see any police force willing to seriously follow something like this up and spend more time than necessary to round-file the complaint.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      If you have a picture sent from the offender to somebody else who is caused distress then the offence has been committed and there is no defence

      There needs to be intent to cause distress. As you yourself posted

      1)A person commits an offence if—

      (a)he intentionally exposes his genitals, and

      (b)he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

      Posting unwanted dick pics is still an, erm, dick thing to do, but I fear it would be hard to prove that distress was intended.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Apparently you can discipline a cat with a cold well aimed water pistol. I think the principle should apply. Bonus if it looks like Doctor Who's 2018 model sonic screwdriver and is bigger than the target.

        1. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

          This is not true for certain cases of cat. My aunt had a cat (which might have had a few loose toys in the attic) which would hunt small cars to stop people coming/going home on the estate, and crapped in neighbours gardens for fun. She suggested this, but what actually happened is that the person with the water pistol ended up with a slightly soggy, very grumpy and totally homicidal cat attached to their arm...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I personally disagree; the test "he intends that someone will see them" is clearly intended to cover situations where a lorry driver has stopped in a layby and wanders over to a bush and has a piss, only to find a hiker (or similar) seeing him in the act. This provides a use case for where a criminal offence is not committed, and it also covers undressing in the presence of your partner in private which would otherwise be criminalised by this law.

        The recipient being caused alarm or distress is a separate condition, and I think a magistrate would do somebody under that section on the basis that anybody distressed enough to bring it to court is "distressed" enough for legal purposes. That leaves the strict liability condition of A, which is proven by the picture on the other persons phone and you'd then go straight to sentencing.

        However, if you don't think this is sufficiently unambiguous for magistrates then we could also ask parliament to add another two lines after (b):-

        or;

        (c) Photographic pictures of genitals are transmitted to another person without their prior written request.

        anddd that'd unquestionably sort the problem without trying to invent a complex technical system to intercept all emails and analyse every picture to deal with it. Just because you can try and deal with a problem by technical methods doesn't mean that it can't be dealt with by other methods; ie the law.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        section 127 of the telecommunications act applies though

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As you say the law is there. A serious question - why do the pics continue? Maybe because a lot of women are reluctant to go through the very time consuming and stressful process of filing a complaint and being a witness. Typically, in a case with serious consequences, the defense will attempt to portray the witness in the most unfavorable light possible (liar, slut, gold digger) - so the reluctance is understandable.

      1. Coastal cutie

        And because it's nigh on impossible to stop the ruddy things, whatever you do. Most of the ones my friends and I have suffered from come from anonymous accounts - once blocked, they simply morph into a new one. None of the social media platforms take it seriously - it's a helluva job to get Twitter to ban someone and then, you've guessed it, they get back on with another anonymous account (they're quick enough to put a photography site on the naughty step though, for too many retweets of pictures of beautiuful beaches). The police don't have the resources to chase all this down and can't do anything if the IP address leads to abroad or the phone number is a burner phone.

    4. Ian Mason

      But surely that fails at the mens rhea test in (b) as one presumes that the intent of most senders is for the recipient to swoon in admiration and immediately succumb to a rush of lust to the, erm, head.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        We should check what the legal definition of "distress" is. It may include swooning. By the way, a rhea is a South American bird with long legs.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          By the way, a rhea is a South American bird with long legs.

          ...and OP forgot the apostrophe in "Men's Rhea". Still not sure what the intent was though, nor why the law should be obsessed with a male-owned long-legged South American flightless bird. But then, I'm not a lawyer.

          1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

            You had me worried but I see that actually I think more than one clothing manufacturer uses a brand name of Rhea. Doesn't that miss the point of a brand name? So, happily, Men's Rhea is not a bird fancier's magazine by subscription, but various things to wear. And I'm happy to say that Women's Rhea is well covered.

            1. David 132 Silver badge
              Happy

              FWIW, we're not really talking about men's rhea here, more men's front.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This particular offence doesn't have an mens rea {Latin: a guilty mind} test condition; it merely tests for actus rei. {actually did it}.

    5. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

      I suspect that if you really wanted to, you could probably add in something from the Wireless Telegraphy act as well about the content of broadcasts to pop an extra bit of fine or jail on top, but at the end of the day, it's going to take quite a lot of public resources to stamp out the problem, and I'm just not sure we've got the police or the court time to do it at the moment. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, just I don't think it's practical, but it's certainly a solution. Until people start using burner phones, of course...

  7. Dave 15 Silver badge

    I can sense some fun

    We could start sending in pictures of various ministers, prime ministers, presidents and so on and get the system to learn to block those as well.. what fun, every time you would see that egit Biden there is a more intelligent duck instead, or Merkel (and whatever that replacement is) and maybe we could replace Macron with a picture taken from the other side than the cock if you can guess what I mean, it would seem more accurate after all

    1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: I can sense some fun

      Biden intelligent? What have you been drinking?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I can sense some fun

        What have you been drinking?

        Koolaid perhaps? (But I think he meant the opposite)

        Circling back to the topic, I wonder if they'll go after ASCII art as well. I have several good ways of indicating naughty bits with standard ASCII characters floating about in my head... like maybe naughty emojis or similar

        *naughty-bits* <-- insert imagination here

  8. Nick Pettefar

    “But by the next day, it was overwhelmed by the flood of dongs — and Bressler hit pause in order to conduct analysis. She told Futurism that the next step is to continue training the filter on existing libraries of dick pics to make sure nothing else slips through the cracks.”

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Facepalm

      make sure nothing else slips through the cracks.

      moan sigh I mean, groan

  9. Jedit Silver badge
    Coat

    "She rolled her eyes at my Latin"

    I'd heard about women and their Latin lovers, but for some reason I thought it was a different context.

    ... much like the OP, mine's the only thing I'll be picking up in the foreseeable future.

  10. iron Silver badge

    Fuck off Mark. If Aussie men can't drag themselves out of the 19th century that's their problem not mine.

    I have never sent a picture of myself to anyone, dick pic or otherwise.

    You just need to learn to keep it in your pants like a civilised human being.

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    a nice, friendly duck

    Ducks are only friendly if you come carrying seed, bread, sandwiches, chips, or anything that looks remotely edible.

    If you don't have a peace offering, expect the nice friendly duck to be only marginally less psychotic than the average chicken.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: a nice, friendly duck

      By the way, "duck" is only one letter different from "dick", so I think I can see how that train of thought was going.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: a nice, friendly duck

        So's dock. Wonder how Otis Redding feels about that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a nice, friendly duck

          "So's dock. Wonder how Otis Redding feels about that?"

          Oh my... he was doing what by the bay?

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: a nice, friendly duck

            Oh my indeed, especially when you consider that a Bay is a colour variant of horse.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: a nice, friendly duck

        if you are combining words to become 'duck', sort of like combining 'cat' and ''activity' to make 'cat-tivity', I can certainly think of other words that would combine well to form the word 'duck'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a nice, friendly duck

      Never give a gun to ducks

  12. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Hot dog / Not hot dog.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Wasn't there a movie with that premise? In a bun and on a tray?

  13. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Scanning of user-submitted content

    Please refer to our privates-see policy.

  14. Howard Sway Silver badge

    They’d know they’d been spared the sight of some bloke’s bits

    I see a problem. What if you wanted to send someone a photo of a duck?

    Say you take a nice snap down at the duck pond and want to share it with all your friends. You couldn't do it anymore, as they'd all think you must have sent them a dick pic. And someone might create a duck-to-dick filter to defeat the original thwarting tech, which would be even worse.

    1. Ian Mason

      Re: They’d know they’d been spared the sight of some bloke’s bits

      That's exactly what prompted me to hit the comments - "What happens if you want to send someone a Duckpic?".

      The likelihood of me sending a dick pic to anyone, even for legitimate reasons to a medical professional, is vanishingly small. The probability however of me sending a duck pic to someone is quite high, it sounds exactly like the kind of thing I would do. I would not wish to make a pariah out of myself just because of some innocent comic ornithology.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: They’d know they’d been spared the sight of some bloke’s bits

        Is the duck surrounded by a pond?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They’d know they’d been spared the sight of some bloke’s bits

        re: Ian.

        I can tell you it would have been less embarassing than standing up in the examination room and unzipping my pants to show my large, yet unfortunately broken member to a doctor who's sitting, quite close, on a conveniently low stool...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They’d know they’d been spared the sight of some bloke’s bits

      And someone might create a duck-to-dick filter to defeat the original thwarting tech, which would be even worse.

      And if anyone thinks I'm going to use DickDickGo to search the interwebs, they've got another thing coming...

  15. cornetman Silver badge

    Could never understand why some guys think that their dick pics would be even remotely impressive to a woman.

    There are some really sorry-ass guys out there that have not a clue about what women want.

    1. I am David Jones
      Coat

      “there are some really sorry ass-guys out there that do not have a clue about what women want”

      Not entirely surprising!

      https://xkcd.com/37/

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        And by way of light-hearted counterpoint… SMBC.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Or Scott Adam's view: https://dilbert.com/strip/1991-04-07

        2. stiine Silver badge

          lighthearted and, judging by the remains on the dinner table last night, true if you add several bottles of wine.

  16. DCA

    Now how do I send someone a duck picture?

    It would seem there is one problem I am going to have here. Every morning I take a walk to the local duck pond and feed the ducks. There are these three sisters that come running up to me to be fed and I often send people pictures of the ducks. In fact my social media page is a close up of a duck's head with my reflection in the eye.

    So now, every time I send one of these pictures, post one of these pictures...the recipient is going to think I did not send them a duck picture!

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