Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | 5:05 PM
YouTube is proud to be a place where citizens and activists come to tell their stories -- stories that may otherwise go unnoticed. A study released this week by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that YouTube is a top destination for news and that “citizens play a substantial role in supplying and producing footage.” But this level of exposure can mean risk to the citizens shooting the footage and the people who appear in their videos.
Today, we announced a new face blurring tool that represents a first step toward providing visual anonymity within our video enhancement tool.
Of course, anonymity is never a guarantee, and people who capture sensitive video footage should consider taking other precautions to keep themselves and their subjects safe. Here are three suggestions:
- Assess your risk. You and the people you film may face risk in every step of filming an advocacy video. You may face risks to your own safety and that of your subjects while filming sensitive footage, during the editing process after you have captured the film, and when you distribute your film online. After assessing the risks you and your subjects face you can make more informed decisions about when to film, whether to distribute your footage, and how widely you want to share it.
- Consider other information which may give away identity. Video footage of your face is not the only way someone can detect your identity. Other factors that may be caught on video can also identify you or your subjects. Watch out for vocal identifiers, like the sound of your voice or saying someone’s name on camera. Other visual footage can give away identity like a license plate, a name tag, or even the background scenery. Make sure that the imagery in your videos does not give away information about your location or identity.
- Understand local laws. Given the global scope of YouTube, we comply with different sets of laws in the various countries in which we're launched (to see where we're launched, go to the YouTube.com footer and click "Worldwide"). If the content in your video is illegal in one of these countries, we must comply with the local formal legal processes. For instance, that means that in Germany we don't stream videos that are sympathetic to Nazism. Know your local laws before you upload.