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News  17, Jul 2014

The fight against revenge porn: Keep your private moments Disckreet

The app requires the couple to key in two passcodes — one each from the two individuals — to allow access to files which feature their private moments

Revenge porn, according to Wikipedia, is sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual; and typically uploaded by ex-partners or hackers. Many of the images are pictures taken by the pictured persons themselves, or selfies, with victims mostly being women. In cases when it happens, it usually begins after an intimate relationship sours.

The act is spreading like wildfire across the world; Japan alone had 27,334 cases reported to the police in 2012 according to The Economist.

Antovate, an Australian startup is hoping to solve the problem, with its little app, Disckreet, where consenting partners can access their private moment files only if both approve.

Antony Burrows, Director, Antovate

Antony Burrows, Director, Antovate

Antony Burrows, Director, Antovate, states, “Celebrity sex tapes make for great gossip, but ‘Revenge Porn’ is becoming a serious problem. Our app gives couples the freedom to experiment in the bedroom, without the fear of gaining (Kim) Kardashian style notoriety.”

Burrows came up with the idea of Disckreet, while reading an article on the growing phenomenon of celebrity sex tapes. “This led to the question posed by the article: ‘Would you ever make one?’ Interestingly, the majority of responses were from females admitting they wanted to try it, but didn’t, due to the risks involved. As soon as I read that, I realised that there was a problem, and it was one I could solve,” he tells e27.

Sweet revenge?
Other than Japan, the figures for the revenge porn trend are difficult to come by. According to Antovate Director, with just keeping the mind-boggling figures above in mind, this sort of thing is difficult to police. “(The act) has to be criminalised first before police reports can be made,” he says, adding, “Exact figures of victims in other parts of the world remain vague.”

Also Read: Ashley Madison CEO talks life after ban in Singapore, South Korea

Of course, the world is slowly but surely stepping up against this; and governments around the world are taking efforts to make revenge porn illegal.

So should couples stop recording their private moments altogether? While that is just an ideal situation, but that could also take the spice out of the love life; and Disckreet just allows that. Fun and safety together. So how does it work?

Entry denied
Pictures or videos are stored within Disckreet behind two different passcodes belonging to both consenting parties. So if one of them decides to post it up on a revenge porn-like site, the other is safe because one passcode cannot work without the other. There is no cloud service for this app; all material is stored on the smartphone itself. “It’s the ‘behind closed doors’ equivalent of needing two keys to launch a nuclear missile,” says Burrows.

He assures that encryption is complex and secure that no hacking can penetrate it; and in a scenario of the phone getting lost too, the files are locked inside safely.

The app itself is targeted at couples who “want to play without fear,” says Burrows. “When I was first struck by the idea to develop Disckreet, I was thinking about women who wanted to try sexier things in the bedroom, but were too afraid of the consequences. However, judging by the amount of coverage we have received in men’s publications, it seems the idea is inspiring to both men and women.” He goes as far as to say that it’s so discreet that he and his team has no idea who is using it. And who forms the team.

A two-person startup
His team of just himself and his wife Miriam Burrows are managing the app and its growth. Antony himself has a computer science degree, an MBA, and has worked 15 years in the online space. It also helped that he had worked on a side project called Soundboard to get into the startup arena before Disckreet. For the uninitiated, Soundboard is a free app that allows users to record different sounds and create their own soundboard. “It was a fun side project which helped me learn about app development,” he states.

Getting wider acceptibility
Will the app trend in Southeast Asia? It’s an interesting point when Burrows thinks about it. “So far the majority of attention we have received has been in the USA, but we are still getting attention worldwide, including Southeast Asia. I believe that there is a market for the app there, but it is a bit less vocal about its interest.” He believes that with more testimonials, the region will eventually pick up on it. 

Currently, Disckreet is available for iOS users only and costs US$1.99. As a promotion for a limited period, Antovate is giving it away for US$0.99. Burrows promises an Android version very soon.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

  • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

    Uhm yep and once the image is on display on the users mobile or desktop the protection to stop a user from copying it off into something else is what exactly…..?

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