YouTube offers face-blurring tool for activists

YouTube has made a tool available which allows people to blur out faces in videos they upload to the site.

The Google-owned site announced the availability of the new feature last night and hopes it will encourage more people to speak out about politically sensitive issues in countries where they could face severe repercussions for exposing the government and major gangs through sensitive videos.
However, the tool is available for everyone and not just activists.
“Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube,” wrote Amanda Conway, a YouTube policy associate, on the company blog post.
The technology is similar to the one deployed by Google across several of its services such as StreetView and Google goggles.
People can check if the blurring has worked frame by frame through a preview function.
Conway added: “This is emerging technology, which means it sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality. It’s possible that certain faces or frames will not be blurred. If you are not satisfied with the accuracy of the blurring as you see it in the preview, you may wish to keep your video private.
“Visual anonymity in video allows people to share personal footage more widely and to speak out when they otherwise may not.
“Because human rights footage, in particular, opens up new risks to the people posting videos and to those filmed, it’s important to keep in mind other ways to protect yourself and the people in your videos.”


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