YouTube's new facial blurring tool

Videos are a salient feature of our modern daily lives and a dominant form of communication. Everything from a child’s birthday party to a bank robbery can now easily be recorded on our phones.

While modern technology brings many benefits, the reality is that videos can pose a threat to anyone who may need to hide their identity. Human rights defenders, witnesses, activists, victims of domestic violence or members of marginalised groups may all, at some point, need visual anonymity to safely speak out. YouTube’s new ‘Custom Blur’ tool on videos allows people to capture the world on camera and make their voices heard while blurring out faces and remaining anonymous.

More than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube a minute – a testament to the growing power of this form of communication. Oak grantee WITNESS has played a crucial role in advocating and advising Google in making this change so that identities of human rights activists can be protected. Check out this article to find out more.