Technology

YouTube Introduces Face-Blurring Technology

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Anonymity on YouTube just became easier with a click of a button.

YouTube has just launched a face-blurring tool that allows users to blur each face in a video before uploading to the website. Quoted by eweek.com, a YouTube policy associate, Amanda Conway, called the blur tool “a first step toward providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.”

If YouTube wasn’t already the most popular video Website, it certainly is now. It is the only website with such technology for its users. Fun fact: A similar blurring technology is used by Google Maps’ street view in order to blur vehicle license plates. Of course, Google owns YouTube.

Many believe that the lack of visual anonymity prevents citizens from sharing personal footage or speaking out. Now that they can remain a little more anonymous -- they may be inspired to speak or share when they wouldn’t have done so before.

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The tool is supposedly extremely simple to use. Within YouTube’s Video Enhancements tool, go to Additional Features, and hit the “Apply” button below “Blur All Faces.” You’ll then be able to see a preview of the final result before posting. It’s that simple.

As with all new technology, there are limits to the blurring tool. First, the technology may occasionally have difficulty detecting all faces in the video, depending on a variety of factors, including video quality and lighting.

Also, it’s called Blur All Faces for a reason. You can’t pick and choose whose face you want blurred. It’s all or nothing for right now.

Despite its limitations, it is being called a major stepping-stone for privacy rights. With a new level of anonymity, Youtube is hoping users will be more likely to post videos. The tool only protects identities, not the bad decisions and experiments gone wrong that so many people love to publicize.