New York Times

New York Times talks to Sam Gregory about YouTube's New Faceblurring Tool

Part of WITNESS’ Systems Change work includes advising technology companies on how human rights defenders use their platforms. This includes advising them on features they could implement to better protect activists. That said, we’re excited that YouTube has included the ability to blur faces in its online editing suite.

Giving activists the ability to maintain the anonymity is vital to the safety and security concerns of those speaking out against injustices around the world.

Via The New York Times:

Sam Gregory, program director for, the leading human rights video advocacy and training organization, praised the move. recently began collaborating with YouTube on a new human rights channel.

Mr. Gregory has been trying to raise awareness among dissidents and operators of social media sites about the importance of anonymity for activists when speaking out can put them at risk of retaliation.

In recent years, Mr. Gregory said, government officials in places like Myanmar, Iran and Syria have used videos of protests to identify dissidents. “There have been clear attempts to use citizen-shot footage to target people and punish them for speaking out against the regime,” Mr. Gregory said.

But Mr. Gregory said the tool would help more people than the activists involved in protests. He said that it would also protect the identity of people who want to use video to speak out about subjects like sexual assault and abuse.

For more on YouTube’s new faceblurring tool and what it means to the human rights community, visit The New York Times.


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