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[liberationtech] New YouTube face blur tool and its human rights implications

Erik Sundelof erik at
Wed Jul 18 17:58:47 PDT 2012

I think it is a good step forward the very least. As long as the visual blur tool call cannot be hijacked/tracked either via HTTP request or client side calls it seems as a tool which would be very useful for plenty.

In general I am always hesitant of assigning "secure" or "safe" to any transaction. It has very little to do with the technology though but more to do with the perceived comfort/security from people using the tool. I might be cynical but I have been in too many projects where people use online tools blindly without thinking of the transaction in itself.

In summary, I think it is a good addition but still do think tools as this one have an associated "danger" as a perceived security from taking the photo in the first place.

I do like their comment about it being the first step forward and that they do not claim it is a home run solution. Much respect for that comment.


Sent from my iPad

On Jul 18, 2012, at 1:37 PM, Matisse Bustos Hawkes <matisse at> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I'm sure some of you saw today's news that YouTube announced a new face blur tool into their editing suite - as they put it: "Whether you you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube."
> Many of the people on this list have been advocating to YouTube and other commercial platforms to incorporate visual anonymity tools and while we recognize this is not a panacea to the problem of online visual privacy - we think its a step in the right direction.
> My colleague Sam Gregory also wrote a blog today that discusses some of the human rights use cases for a tool like this, not just in protest situations or crises situations such as Syria, but for anyone concerned with anonymous speech in our visual and networked age.
> Here's his post:
> Looking forward to people's thoughts. Would be great if you're willing to share them publicly that you would do so on our blog or tweet @SamGregory, me at @matissebh or @witnessorg
> Thanks!
> Matisse
> *********
> Matisse Bustos Hawkes
> Communications Manager 
> See it. Film it. Change it. 
> t: 1 718 783 2000 ext. 306
> matisse at
> @matissebh | @witnessorg
> New Human Rights Channel on YouTube - curated by WITNESS + Storyful:
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