The protesters’ savior? YouTube releases face blurring tool

As more and more dissidents use YouTube as a way to communicate with the world, anonymity and privacy are primary issues they have to be careful. Therefore, the new service YouTube released Wednesday attracted everyone.
YouTube’s new face blurring tool is under the category of enhancement tool. Once users upload the videos, they can apply the face blurring function and then get previews before sharing with the world.
YouTube policy associate Amanda Conway, wrote in the official blog that “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.
However, YouTube’s face blurring tool still has a loophole needed to be addressed. Users cannot choose who to blur; every person gets blurred in the footage.


This is emerging technology, which means it sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality,” Conway explained. “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.
YouTube’s face blurring tool stems from a group of lobbyists, trying to protect themselves while delivering their messages.


“We are at an evolution point where pictures and video are the most powerful ways to get our stories across, but people need to have the option to protect themselves,” said Sam Gregory, program director of Witness, which provides support to people who use video for human rights work.
Keith Wagstaff, a contributor of TIME’s Techland, wrote that the footage of the Arab Spring shot by citizens from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya didn’t occupy the major news but spread fast via websites like YouTube and Facebook, winning lots of support from around the world. 


Still, the fact that YouTube, by far the world’s biggest video-sharing site, is implementing this technology before anyone else is good news for democracy activists.” Wagstaff wrote.
In addition, more than a third of all news video on YouTube was filmed by a bystander, noted Pew Research. YouTube is playing an increasingly large role as a news source around the world, and it hopes the blurring face tool will encourage people to share video more widely without putting themselves at risk.

Image: Mashable

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This entry was posted in citizen journalism, face blurring tool, Technology, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink.

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