YouTube offers tool for blurring faces, though anonymity not guaranteed

YouTube offers tool for blurring faces, though anonymity not guaranteed
July 18, 2012 - 5:48 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - YouTube is offering people a way to blur faces in submitted video.

The new tool is designed for human-rights activists and others who may want to protect people in a video. Simply blur faces using the tool before submitting it. It will appear among the "Additional features" under editing enhancements when it's available late Wednesday.

Google Inc., which owns YouTube, is warning that blurring faces by itself may not guarantee anonymity. Background scenery or a license plate might give away someone's identity, as might a recognizable voice. The software also might miss a face or two, though people will have a chance to review the blurring before submitting it.

YouTube says the feature "allows people to share personal footage more widely and to speak out when they otherwise may not."




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News from © The Associated Press, 2012
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  • Exported MERS cases 'very likely,' WHO warns; Canada on the lookout, PHAC says

    TORONTO - The World Health Organization is warning countries to be on the lookout for cases of MERS in people returning from Middle Eastern countries affected by the virus.

    In an updated risk assessment, the WHO notes there have been several recent instances where cases were exported to Greece, Malaysia, Jordan and the Philippines.

    The global health agency says it is very likely infections will continue to be exported in tourists, religious pilgrims or foreign nationals who travel to or work in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    The WHO suggests countries increase awareness among travellers about the new disease, but it does not recommend border screening of travellers or the application of travel or trade restrictions against affected countries.

    A senior official of the Public Health Agency of Canada says federal authorities are in regular communications with provincial and territorial counterparts about the situation and the possibility of imported cases of MERS or avian influenza in travellers.

    Dr. Theresa Tam says since last September more than 3,000 people have been screened in Canada, but to date no cases of MERS have been found.

    "The whole system is on alert," says Tam, who is the head of the Public Health Agency's health security infrastructure branch.

    "Like Greece or France or Italy, it's possible to get a traveller for sure. And so the system is designed to try to pick that up."

    France, Italy, Germany and Britain have also diagnosed MERS cases in people who travelled to the Middle East or flew from there to Europe for treatment. Those events happened earlier in 2012 and 2013.

    The number of MERS cases has soared this month, fuelled by outbreaks in health-care settings in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    The WHO has confirmed 254 cases, but at this point its tally lags far behind the numbers reported by affected countries. The combined case count announced by the countries has reached about 375 cases since the first known infections occurred in April 2012.

  • Quake felt in Okanagan confirmed

    OKANAGAN – The Pacific Geoscience Centre in Victoria has confirmed that the large earthquake off the coast of Vancouver Island Wednesday evening was detected as far east as the Okanagan.

    Earthquake Seismologist Taimi Mulder says any quake over 5.5 will send “surface waves” out in all directions and can even be registered on the other side of the planet in some cases. According to Mulder, the first quake registered 6.6 and was followed by three smaller quakes within 35 minutes.

    “(Residents of Kelowna) definitely would have felt it,” she says. “It generated a lot of long, low, rolling waves through the earth. I think Kelowna is about the furthest away that it would have been felt.”

    According to Mulder, the larger the area that ruptures, the further away it can be detected.

    “Up at the 6.6 range, there is a lot of low frequencies generated and they travel a lot further,” she says. “This earthquake will be picked up by seismometer’s all around the world.”

    Mulder says the Geoscience Centre has received reports from several residents in Kelowna and Summerland, but hopes that others who felt the quake will register it on their reporting website.

    “We collect that information through the Did You Feel It? website and we use it as part of our studies,” she says. “To know how strongly people felt it and what effects it had is really important for us.”

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

  • Debris flow prompts evacuation order in Shuswap

    SHUSWAP - An evacuation order remains in place for residents living by McIntyre Creek near Salmon Arm due to a large flow of debris Wednesday.

    Debris in the creek created flooding and slide concerns for people and property in the area, and as a precaution, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District has put residents living 50 metres on either side of the creek on evacuation order.

    The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is on site today clearing and repairing Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road, located about 15 km from the TransCanada Highway. The road will be closed for some time Thursday so crews can conduct repairs.

    Due to the instability of the area and other safety concerns, the public is asked to keep clear of the incident site and assist in lowering traffic flow until further notice.

    Uncertainty of debris stability, coupled with a 10 to 12 mm of rain forecasted for the Shuswap area by Environment Canada, were deciding factors in the decision to maintain the Evacuation Order until further assessment has been conducted.

    Those residents requiring Emergency Support Services are asked to report to the Reception Centre located at #2-480 Harbour Front Drive NE, Salmon Arm.

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

  • Extras needed for Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller film

    KAMLOOPS — A well-known franchise movie series featuring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson is in the midst of filming the third movie in the series and crews are currently busy preparing an area between Kamloops and Cache Creek for two days of shooting.

    According to Thompson-Nicola Film Commission Executive Director Vicci Weller Night at the Museum 3 is currently finishing up the preparation stages, which takes about two weeks, and by mid-May crews will be on scene for two days of filming.

    “We’ve been working with them since October on this,” she says, adding there has been a lot of work for local crews. “The locations are all signed, and paid, and the build is quite substantial.”

    As crews finish up the details for the set a casting company is looking for men in the Kamloops area to fill in as paid extras for the scene, specifically Egyptian-looking men over the age of 18.

    The call asks males who look Middle Eastern or have dark skin tone and hair colour to go to the university Grand Hall at the Campus Activity Centre at 6:30 p.m. in Friday, April 25 or 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 26.

    The series,  focuses on life at the museum when the sun goes down as characters come alive and interact with Stiller’s security guard character. According to Night at the Museum 3 is set to once again feature Stiller and Wilson alongside Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney (who died earlier this month) and many other well known actors. The Twentieth Century Fox film, which is also taping in London, England and Vancouver, is expected to be released by the end of the year.

    “It’s a family movie, which is good fun,” Weller says, “Just like (Monster Trucks) that just shot here.”

    To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

  • SPCA readies for largest fundraiser of year

    KAMLOOPS — Books, barbecues and balls will highlight May for the local B.C. SPCA branch as the shelter takes on Prince George in the annual City Challenge, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Kamloops branch.

    The pressure is on for staff as well. Not only has Prince George beat Kamloops the past two years but the local shelter has faced several months of ringworm, resulting in more than $10,000 in medical costs as well as a drop in adoptions and retail sales, several major surgeries and an abundance of animals looking for new homes.

    The goal this year is to raise more than $40,000, similar to totals last year that included a medical plea for Casey the dog with the basketball-sized tumour that had to be removed.

    “This is our major fundraiser, along with Paws for a Cause,” Branch Manager Charleen Holloway says. “There’s more of a need this year because when we shut down it’s harder for people to give money to us, we get a lot of folks donating through walk-ins. So it dropped off quite considerably, and expenses were higher.”

    Costs have continued to climb as the shelter faces vandalism as well. In recent weeks both shelter vans have been tagged with graffiti, in addition to the building, and with a $500 deductible each time the costs add up quickly.

    The month-long fundraiser will kick off with the open house on May 3 at the shelter and will include a barbecue and 15 craft vendors.

    This year there will again be a bottle drive at the shelter and both General Grants locations (though General Grants accepts bottles for the shelter year round), a dog wash (May 24 at River City Nissan), Spay-ghetti and No-Balls dinner (May 10 at the Plaza) and a used book sale at Northills Centre. The wrap up barbecue will be on May 31 at the Shall M&M Meats.

    “There’s a lot of great activities,” Holloway says, “and we have a big new signature event, a Fur-Ball.”

    The new event will be held on May 23 and is about ‘celebrating second chances’. Holloway explains the evening will be very interactive with dinner stations, dancing, live entertainment, silent auction, 50/50 and more at the Coast Hotel. Tickets for the event are available through

    In addition Fireside restaurant and Cat and Joe's Pig Rig will make donations for certain food purchases every Wednesday during May and Denny’s will make a donation for every order of pancake puppies made during the month.

    “We are extremely grateful (for all the help),” Holloway says. “There’s so many little things that add up.”

    Holloway notes Kamloops is pitted against Prince George because the communities are similar in size and demographics.

    “You want to pair up against a community that will be a challenge and not a blow out,” she says. “No one wants a blow out.”

    To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

  • Oregon asks firm to stop using fetal tissue from B.C. to generate power

    PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon commission has ordered a waste-to-power facility to stop accepting boxed medical waste after learning it might be using the remains of aborted fetuses from British Columbia to generate electricity.

    Sam Brentano, chairman of the Marion County board of commissioners, said late Wednesday the board is taking immediate action to prohibit human tissue from future deliveries.

    The British Columbia Health Ministry tells The Associated Press that regional health authorities there have a contract with a company that sends biomedical waste, including fetal tissue, to Oregon, where it's incinerated in the waste-to-energy plant

    Vancouver-based B.C. Catholic newspaper identified the plant as Covanta Marion, based in Marion County.

    The facility processes about 500 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste, generating up to 13 megawatts of energy sold to Portland General Electric.

  • Sun Peaks adds guided hikes and cross-country bike tours this summer

    SUN PEAKS, B.C. - Sun Peaks Resort is introducing guided interpretive hiking tours on its lift-accessed trails in the B.C. Interior's Shuswap Highland this summer.

    The region offers abundant displays of alpine wildflowers during the peak blooming season from mid-July to mid-August.

    A four-person chairlift takes hikers up to 35 kilometres of trails, ranging from beginner to advanced. The lift begins operating June 27.

    Known in summer as a downhill biking destination, Sun Peaks is also boosting its cross-country offerings.

    "We're seeing a big increase in people who are interested in cross-country biking," said Sun Peaks spokesperson Brandi Schier. "We have a Nordic trail network that is used in winter for skiing and it doubles in the summer for cross-country biking."

    The resort is adding two lift-accessed cross-country biking trails for intermediate riders, totalling 18 kilometres.

    New guided cross-country biking tours will also be offered. If riders aren't sure they have the stamina for a full day on the trails, electric motors can be attached for help on uphill sections.

  • Port Hardy earthquake felt across Okanagan

    KELOWNA - A series of earthquakes 90km south of Port Hardy has several Twitter users saying they felt it here in the Okanagan as well.

    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake hit at 8:10 p.m. and registered 6.7. A second 5.0 quake struck the same area seven minutes later followed by a 4.3 at 8:40 p.m.

    Several Tweet's were sent by Okanagan residents saying they felt the earthquake in Kelowna, Kamloops and Vernon, however this has not been confirmed.

    There are no reports of damage or injuries. Information will be updated as it becomes available.

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.