Face Blurring Technology Hits YouTube

Face Blurring Technology Hits YouTube

Anonymity on the web can be something a person chases only to land right, left, and centre of glaring public attention. The advent of easy to use and carry personal cameras in smartphones equipped with cell phone trackers, computer monitoring apps and digital cameras has led to an issue regarding public anonymity. Ordinary people make videos and take pictures of people on the street and then later upload them onto public forums and widely used sites such as YouTube without considering the issues of permission and consent.

YouTube Offers Face Protection

A similar matter was taken up when Google Maps’ Street View option included images of individuals walking in the streets of Europe. The governments of European countries such as Switzerland and Germany have strict policies and have displayed their concern over the matter, leading to Google having to make changes to what it presents. Seemingly taking a leaf out of the same concept, YouTube has introduced controls for video uploading and sharing.

The latest offering is a face-blurring tool which as the name suggests, blurs the faces of individuals featured in the videos so that they are no longer recognizable. Once a user uploads a video, they can then proceed to the ‘Video Enhancements’ option from the menu. The option ‘Blur All Faces’ appears upon which after clicking the feature will automatically scan the video and using facial recognition features blur any faces. The manual option does not exist at the moment so the feature is quite limited.

The Beta Version’s Well Reception

Since YouTube is still working out the kinks if the feature is unable to detect a Face it will go un-blurred, which means the video hasn’t been able to be completely censored. YouTube has not kept anyone in the dark regarding the matter and has stressed that the features are prone to malfunction or may not give 100% results. Also, the feature is not meant for high level private videos. If the content is extremely personal then simply face-blurring it is not enough to allow it to be uploaded on such a international public platform.
But though at the moment the beta version is out, users and critics alike seem to be getting a kick out of it. The visual anonymity that it promises holds future prospects of mandatory blurring in videos where permission has not been obtained.

Private Sharing of Videos Also Available

Another option which is being simultaneously launched is the private video option. Users can now opt to keep their videos personal and limit the audience for them. This is much akin to the Facebook video sharing and privacy policy. YouTube users can now avail the same if they are unable to successfully blur faces of perhaps random or unintentionally included individuals in their video. So now they can control who sees the sensitive content which will be visible only to those who are allowed to see it. Such videos are not openly showcased on the site nor do they appear on the User’s channel.

For those who feel that there is just too much cell phone tracking by the web, too many illicit photos taken, and just a constant fear of computer monitoring apps that will lead to privacy leaks, YouTube’s introduction of this new technology can mean safer online futures. Other companies are taking the same initiative as Facebook has already announced that it will soon acquire facial recognition features and Apple has already patented similar technology said to be used in unlocking iOS devices.

Author Bio: James Clark has been writing about Computer Monitoring Software for quite a bit of his career. His articles have been a source of information for those looking to find out more about the latest Computer Spy Software and he’s helped many tackle their privacy and security issues along the way.

Matthew Marley

Matthew Marley is a Social Media & Search Specialist from Glasgow Scotland with a passion for the web and emerging technologies.

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