Every photo you take contains a significant amount of seemingly "invisible" yet important information known as metadata. While metadata is usually helpful in sorting your photos by location and date, the same information may be used against you, especially if the photos are taken in a precarious situation.
The protests that took place across the country after the murder of George Floyd of police officers are fraught with pain and anger. Peaceful street demonstrations turned violent when rioters and looters hijacked them, and smartphones everywhere were recording everything that happened.
Unfortunately, photos taken during a protest or march may contain EXIF data that law enforcement officers may use to track where and when the photo was taken. Posting an image of a protest online can not only put you in the crosshairs of the police regardless of your innocence, but it can also put the people in your photos at risk.
While there are several ways to delete EXIF data, there is a tool that goes beyond scrubbing that metadata. Best of all, it works on any platform, so you can use it whether you have an Android phone or iPhone.
Image Scrubber, created by developer Everest Pipkin, anonymizes photos taken during protests and meetings by removing all metadata from them. Plus, it has quick editing tools to blur out faces, addresses, distinctive clothing, and other information in photos that can help identify you, others, or locations. By taking precautions and maintaining the anonymity of you and everyone, you don't have to worry about what you post or share and where.
: Load a Photo into Image Scrubber
Anyone can access Image Scrubber, as it is currently only available through your web browser. Visit everestpipkin.github.io/image-scrubber in a mobile browser, tap "Open image" at the top left and choose how you want to import an image. You can take a photo right away or upload a photo from your stock gallery or file manager. Once you find the image, tap it to load it.
Note that you can select videos, not just images. But if you choose a movie file, a tool will open where you have to select the frame of the video whose compressed still image you want to be. However, we found that it doesn't work very well (if at all) on Android, but it works great on iOS.
If no EXIF data is stored in the image, this is indicated and you can continue editing the image. If there is EXIF data, it will appear on the screen as a long string of text. While you may not fully understand it, you'll see information such as your camera's make and model, software version, date captured, geocoded location, and much more.
To permanently delete the EXIF data from the photo, tap the "Scrub Exif Data" button at the bottom of the screen. A pop-up will appear confirming the removal; tap "Close" or "OK" to continue.
Step 3: Cover up information in the photo  Now you can use the brush to blur faces and other objects in your photo. First choose the type of brush you want from the three options available, including "Paint" (black is the only color), "Blur" (the beam can be fine-tuned), and "Undo" (your eraser for the previous two options)
Black paint is quite intuitive, so we'll quickly show the Blur tool in our example. Tap it and tap and drag your finger over the part of the photo to be obscured. Once you release it, the blur effect will appear, but it may take a few seconds to process the image.
If the blur looks weird, you can adjust the "Blur Radius" to an intensity that looks better. It can take some trial and error here to find the right beam, which you can then use on all of the following images. Note, however, that:
The blur feature has built-in pixelization and noise and is quite irreversible – but very sensitive information should be covered with the paint tool.