YouTube is seeking to help human rights activists and others who post videos to the website but want to protect the identity of the people that appear in the footage.
“Face blurring: when footage requires anonymity,” is how YouTube announced the provision of a new tool to enable face blurring.
“As citizens continue to play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage from around the world, YouTube is committed to creating even better tools to help them,” YouTube said in a blog. “According to the international human rights organization WITNESS’ Cameras Everywhere report, ‘No video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers users the option to blur faces or protect identity.’
“YouTube is excited to be among the first.”
YouTube explains in the blog how the tool works “with the click of a button.”
The Google-owned website says the tool “is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.”
The tool appears under the “Additional features” editing enhancements for people posting videos.
YouTube is offering people a way to blur faces in submitted video.
Google does warn that blurring faces by itself may not guarantee anonymity. Background scenery or a license plate might give away someone’s identity, as might a recognizable voice. The software also might miss a face or two, though people will have a chance to review the blurring before submitting it.
Here’s how YouTube explains the process:
“Blurring faces on YouTube is simple. Once you’ve chosen the video that you’d like to edit within our Video Enhancements tool, go to Additional Features and click the ‘Apply’ button below Blur All Faces. Before you publish, you will see a preview of what your video will look like with faces blurred. When you save the changes to your video, a new copy is created with the blurred faces. You will then be given the option to delete the original video.
“This is emerging technology, which means it sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality. 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.”
(The AP contributed to this report.)