WITNESS Advises YouTube on Video Blurring Tool

On February 25, YouTube announced the release of a new version of their video blurring tool. WITNESS approached YouTube about the importance of visual anonymity in 2011 and worked to pioneer an initial version of this tool which was released in 2012. WITNESS continued to advise on this subject and contributed to this new and improved version of tool.  This video blurring functionality allows users to blur selected items in their videos, such as faces or other identifying information and then delete the copy of the original video hosted on the platform. This is vital for protecting the identities of activists or victims of human rights abuse who wish to speak about in situations where they may be under threat.

Since its release, the tool has received some great attention! Program director Sam Gregory published an op-ed on visual anonymity tools and human rights on WIRED. Tech blog LifeHacker featured the tool and WITNESS’ how-to video on how to optimize its use for human rights video (below).

For more on information on the importance of privacy and anonymity in human rights video, check out our new post Why YouTube’s Blurring Tool Matters and Why Other Platforms Should Have One Too by Sam Gregory.

The screencast below gives an overview of how to use the tool. Additional information and important things to think about when using blurring features in human rights-related videos are available here.



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