The Madeleine Brand Show for July 19, 2012

YouTube's new face blur tool aims to protect identities

YouTube face blur

Courtesy of Google

The situation in Syria is already so dangerous that most of the Western reporters covering the conflict are doing so from outside the country - either on the Turkish border or from Beirut. News agencies are relying on videos uploaded by citizen journalist, or ordinary people taking videos with their cell phone cameras.

It's a trend we've seen a lot of, especially last year during the so-called Arab Spring. But the people who post these videos are naturally concerned about reprisals. Activists from Syria have said that when they were detained and they denied protesting, they were shown videos from YouTube, in which they were demonstrating.

So it's timely that, just yesterday, Google released a new tool that allows people who upload videos to automatically blur the faces of the people in those videos.

Guest host David Wright talks to Sam Gregory, the Program Director of Witness, a non-profit organization that lobbied Google to add this tool to YouTube.

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