YouTube adds face blurring tool to protect anonymity

YouTube adds face blurring tool to protect anonymity
New feature will encourage people to speak out, says YouTube

Google has incorporated a neat face blurring feature into YouTube in the hope of protecting the anonymity of protests in videos posted to the site.

The video-sharing site says it is adding the tool following a recent observation from human rights campaigners WITNESS that no prominent sites offered the technology.

The feature can be turned on by ticking the Blur All Faces box within the video enhancements tool on the site.

YouTube uses the example of the Arab Spring protests in Egypt in a post on the YouTube blog.

Protecting children

The company says, as well as safeguarding the identity of activists, the tool allows uploaders to avoid the potentially sensitive issue of uploading childrens' faces for the world to see.

"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," said the blog post.

YouTube points out that the tech is still in the development stages, so may not be 100 per cent accurate immediately. It advises unsatisfied uploaders to keep their videos private.

Visual anonymity

The company says it is proud to be a home for activist videos and says its a new tool may encourage people to speak out against oppression without fear of reprisal.

"Visual anonymity in video allows people to share personal footage more widely and to speak out when they otherwise may not," the blog post continues.

"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 in the people in your videos.

"YouTube is proud to be a destination where people worldwide come to share their stories, including activists."

Via: The Next Web

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.