Google just made another of its data privacy tools free for everyone

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / metamorworks)

Google has announced it has made a new privacy tool freely available for all.

Announcing the Magritte tool in a post on the Google Developers blog, the company wrote the launch will be the latest addition to Google’s Protected Computing initiative, which the company claims is to fundamentally change “how, when, and where data is processed to technically ensure its privacy and safety.”

The new tool, which will be available on the open source project repository Github, uses “high-accuracy” machine learning to detect identifying objects, such as licence plates and tattoos, and automatically blur them out. 

Google’s privacy tools

Google claims that Magritte is best placed to help videographers and video journalists secure the privacy of others in the world around them. It highlighted that it has a low computational spend, and that its high-accuracy makes it a reliable time-saving tool.

Elsewhere, the less catchy “Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) Transplier”, which aims to allow data scientists compute encrypted data without being able to access personal information, and was first released last year, has received new circuit optimizations to expand its use cases by ensuring a lower computational cost.

The tools are the latest examples of Google focusing on the research and development of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) that, in June 2022, became a focus for the US Government’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

In November 2022, the concept was also featured as part of a contest run by the US and UK governments, which asked participants to develop solutions that allowed for the training of artificial intelligence models without exposing personal data, a principle known as differential privacy.

In 2019, Google made its differential privacy library - a set of tools designed for ease of use by developers and, in some cases, such as the Privacy on Beam privacy framework, absolute non-experts - available on GitHub.

Luke Hughes
Staff Writer

 Luke Hughes holds the role of Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.