I need to start by thanking my co-worker for suggesting this story's headline. "So basically you're saying you want me to act as — what would you call it — bait? (And, though I didn't admit it at the time, maybe a tad concerned that users just might click past me, too.
"I was hoping you'd, um, help with the story," he said. As soon as they see me, they'll click, 'Next.'" OK, he did have a point there.
Meanwhile, the site's founder, a Russian teenager named Andrey Ternovskiy, continues to say that he's out to create a "perfect video world" where people can talk across national borders and beyond social cliques and demographics. "With the help of a few good developers we've started collecting information, such as IP addresses, logs and screen captures of offenders who actually break US/UN laws by broadcasting innapropriate [sic] content in a specific situations," he writes.
The major hitch in that utopian vision: the nakedness, which led some to turn away from the site. "I hope that with help of a Criminal law we can finally get the problem out of our shoulders and get existing organizations which usually solve these kind of problems to help us." He also posted a warning on Chatroulette's notoriously spare homepage: "Warning: Broadcasting inappropriate content to minors is a violation of both US and UN law.
If you have ever been tempted, like so many male Chatroulette users, to show complete strangers the contents of your trousers new security research might persuade you not to join in this offensive nonsense.
Video chat services such as Chatroulette enable random strangers to get virtually connected, but the lure of perceived anonymity and a somewhat ironic assumption of privacy has meant that it has attracted a somewhat unsavoury crowd of what a few years ago we would have called flashers or perhaps more correctly perverts.
I have tried using Chatroulette myself, and every single time have been greeted with the sight of some bloke playing with his erect penis within seconds or minutes at the longest.
Some of the features appeared to be down for maintenance on Monday, but the blog Tech Crunch says the adult channels have proved to be the most popular.
Ternovskiy also writes that the site has tried to use image-recognition technology and other methods of automated analysis to flag naked offenders. N., Chatroulette will be able to flourish again as it did "before it was discovered by a strange people, who started to abuse the true freedom and democratic nature of the service," he writes. "I hope that someday our service will become a beautiful video world, an internet country with no borders and locations," he writes.