The creator of Chatroulette has revealed that he is working on a way to preserve user’s privacy, following the launch of Chat Roulette Map, a Google Maps mashups that pinpoints the location of users of the service.
Andrey Ternovskiy, speaking in an interview with the New York Times Bits blog, stated, “There is a certain level of anonymity on the Chatroulette that Chatroulette Map takes away, but I plan to add something to my site to allow them to still hide their whereabouts.”
Chatroulette Map highlights a Chatroulette user’s location by looking at his or her IP addresses, which is revealed via the peer-to-peer nature of the webcam connection. As well as placing a marker on a map, users are screengrabbed, offering anyone in the world a brief sneak peak through a stranger’s webcam.
This has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, although those behind Chatroulette Map say they will remove an image and marker on request if emailed a matching photo to ensure the authenticity of the request.
17-year-old Ternovskiy, a Russian student currently visiting the U.S., says of ChatRoulette Map, “I enjoy it”, but obviously realizes his users — some of which appear to have a penchant for public nudity and masturbation — might be less likely to use the service without the anonymity it previously offered.
However, this does not mean Ternoviskiy is green-lighting the use of the service for such NSFW activities. He has introduced a “report” button, which will see someone “reported” three times banned from the service.
Other points of interest from the interview are the fact that Ternovskiy has yet to collect his Google AdWords earnings as he’s is still under 18, that he’s been offered a $1 million buy-out, and that last month 30 million unique visitors hit Chatroulette, which is averaging one million new users a each day.