TechWeb

YouTube Tool Blurs Faces To Protect Privacy

Mar 29, 2012 (12:03 PM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=232700524


In an effort to serve the human rights community and to address privacy complaints from people featured without permission in other people's videos, Google's YouTube is developing a way for video makers to easily obscure the faces of people in their videos.

Google has had the ability to blur faces in still images for several years and has deployed the technology in an automated fashion to obscure the faces of people captured in its Street View images.

Within a few months, YouTube hopes to make the technology available for online video, said Victoria Grand, YouTube director of global communications and policy.

Grand mentioned YouTube's blurring technology in a panel discussion at Google Big Tent, a technology policy event held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, and provided further details after the session.

[ Read The Bill To Blur Google Earth. ]

The human rights community, said Grand, has been asking for the ability to conceal people's faces in videos for several years.

Blurring people's faces in a video is not a difficult post-production task, given the right digital video software. There are videos on YouTube that explain how to do so. But many YouTube users upload their videos without any editing or post-production work, or without asking all the people featured in the video.

YouTube is working to add a blurring tool to its video editing toolkit, so extra software isn't necessary.

Grand says that the tool will provide YouTube with another option for dealing with privacy complaints submitted by people depicted in another user's videos. At the moment, she said, when YouTube receives this sort of complaint, it gives the video creator two days to remove the video. If no action is taken and the complaint is not resolved, YouTube will remove the offending video.

Once the blur tool is made available, video creators will have the option to edit the video in question so the complainant's face is blurred. This will allow the video to remain on YouTube.

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