YouTube Adds Privacy-Protecting Face Blurring Option

Brad Chacos

The rise of the smartphone camera mixed with the ability to freely post video visible to anybody in the world has the power to shake nations, as we've seen around the globe in recent years. It also has a chilling side effect: dissenters are now easier than ever to identify and track down, as we saw vigilante groups doing following the London riots . Dictator haters have a little less to worry about now, as Google has added a free, easy-to-use face blurring tool to YouTube.

"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," policy associate Amanda Conway wrote on the YouTube blog .

It's pretty straightforward: load your video in YouTube's Video Enhancements tool, then click the "Blur All Faces" option in Additional Features. Done! A blurry second video pops up for publishing.

The face blurring tech is still in its infancy, however, and Conway warns that tricky lighting or odd angles can throw the feature for a loop, so be sure to preview any privacy-sensitive vids before you unleash them on the world.

"Visual anonymity in video allows people to share personal footage more widely and to speak out when they otherwise may not," Conway says. Way to stand up for free speech and stick it to The Man, Google.

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