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YouTube launches face-blurring feature

18 Jul 2012
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YouTube has added the ability for users to blur the faces of people appearing in videos they upload to the site.

The company said that the feature was designed to protect the anonymity of individuals in potentially dangerous situations, such as anti-government protests.

"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," the company said in a blog post announcing the feature.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your eight-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."

The company noted that the feature is still under development and that in some cases the blurring may not function properly. The blurring option will be offered under the YouTube 'video enhancements' tool.

While facial blurring is largely considered to be a tool for protecting freedom of speech and human rights, the technology has also been used as a measure for preserving privacy and anonymising users whose images are captured in public places.

Google uses a facial-blurring technology as a method for complying with anonymising provisions placed on its Street View service in parts of Europe.

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Shaun Nichols
About

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for V3.co.uk. He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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