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YouTube blurs faces to protect the innocent

New feature designed to help anonymise activists

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

YouTube has launched a feature that blurs faces in videos uploaded to the site.

In a blog post introducing the feature, the Google unit offers two use cases for the tool:

"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 ..."

The first is an obvious application. The second is a sad necessity in the modern world: here in Australia cyber-safety advice suggests never letting your kids be photographed in a uniform of any sort (parents have also been banned from photographing junior surf lifesaving events after horridly deranged individuals thought it would be fun to snap kids in their swimming costumes).

“YouTube is proud to be a destination where people worldwide come to share their stories, including activists,” writes the site's policy associate Amanda Conway. “We hope that the new technologies we’re rolling out will facilitate the sharing of even more stories on our platform.”

Comway also confesses that the blurring is not perfect and that some faces may remain visible due to various factors. Another glitch is that the new tool creates a blurry copy of a video: users will need to delete the pristine version in order to protect privacy, ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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