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YouTube Blurs Reality…

YouTube Blurs Reality…

The Google owned site looks to protect the anonymity of political protestors and dissidents in particualr that  “play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage” by developing face blurring for its publicly broadcast videos.

Undoubtedly, social media and YouTube videos from the Arab Spring uprisings last year played a vital part in getting across the struggle of oppressed citizens to the wider world.

But blurring could also have a negative side effect, in the case of, say, the London Riots last (Northern) summer, which showed yobs looting and firebombing shops and other privately owned property.

In such instances of illegal activity, YouTube’s face blurring could protect crims from being identified.


Click to enlarge

The new tool lets YouTubers obscure faces by clicking a button in Video Enhancements tool.

International human rights org ‘Witness Cameras Everywhere’ recently pointed out  “no video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers users the option to blur faces or protect identity.”

“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,” YouTube said in a blog post.

However, this face blurring is an emerging technology, and sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality, YouTube warned.

It’s possible that certain faces or frames will not be blurred, meaning the technology may not be fool proof, just yet.

If you are not satisfied with the blurring, users can 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.

YouTube said it is “proud to be a destination where people worldwide come to share their stories, including activists.”

“Along with efforts like the Human Rights Channel and Citizentube, we hope that the new technologies we’re rolling out will facilitate the sharing of even more stories on our platform.”