YouTube’s Face Blurring Tool Lets You Protect Identities in Videos

YouTube’s Face Blurring Tool Lets You Protect Identities in Videos

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As YouTube becomes a popular news source for many, and a place where people’s identities are thrown all over the web, it would be nice if you had the capability of hiding a person’s identity if you feel like they should be protected somehow when you post a video (and you don’t have an editing program that does it).  The YouTube Blog cited a report from human rights organization WITNESS that found no video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers a way to hide people’s identities, so YouTube got to work and now you can blur a subject’s face.

YouTube’s Face-Blurring Tool

From the YouTube Blog:

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.

I like the idea of being able to do this for something like protest footage, but I don’t know why you even bother to blur the face of a kid in a basketball game when you can just make the video private.  But, oh well, just like any technology of this nature, it’s there in case you need it.  Here’s a look at YouTube’s face blur tool:

How to blur faces in YouTube:

  • Go to the Video Enhancements tool
  • Go to Additional Features
  • Click the Apply button below Blur All Faces

So it looks like it aims to blur all the faces in the video, rather than giving you any option to blur just one face.  But, because it’s all tied to facial recognition, there are times when the tool won’t recognize a face due to video quality, angle, lighting, etc.  So this is something that will likely need some work as facial recognition software gets better.  You always have the option to make the video private if you don’t like the blurring (or lack thereof).

So give it a look.  It’s a good gatekeeper tool for YouTube, since not everyone has the editing software to blur faces.  I’m sure it will be used humorously in many cases, possibly for ill will in others, but at the very least, those wanting to protect identities in a video mostly can.

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