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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  • Campaign to keep mass murderer behind bars begins again


    WEST KELOWNA – It’s a horrible tradition that puts the surviving members of the Johnson and Bentley families and their friends through hell.

    Mass murderer David Ennis, also known as David Shearing, is up for a parole on Sept. 4.

    In August of 1982 Ennis murdered grandparents George and Edith Bentley, parents Bob and Jackie Johnson and their two daughters Janet, 13, and Karen, 11, in Wells Gray Provincial Park. They were on a family camping trip. The two young girls were sexually assaulted, although that part of the crime didn't surface until after Ennis was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the six murders.

    Since his first parole hearing in 2008, Tammy Arishenkoff has led the charge to keep him behind bars with petitions and letter writing campaigns.

    Arishenkoff was a friend of the Johnson family, especially Janet Johnson, who was a classmate.

    “He should never get out for what he’s done and he’s not an individual who has any comprehension about what he’s done or any remorse,” Arishenkoff said. “He needs to stop going before the (parole) board. He needs to stay in prison and accept his fate. Die there basically is what he should be doing.”

    This time, Arishenkoff is using social media in a big way. Along with the Facebook group Justice for the Johnson-Bentley Families: Keep Their Killer Behind Bars! she is also using provides an efficient way to gather petition signatures, but it also allows people to print off a form letter to send to the parole board. 

    “Every piece of information that goes to the parole board has to be reviewed,” she said. “The mound of stuff gets exponentially bigger every two years.”

    Over 1,000 people have already signed the petition and she expects a lot more over the next six weeks of the campaign.

    At his last parole hearing at the Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alta. in 2012 over two dozen people showed up.

    “The parole board had never seen that many people for a parole hearing for anybody never mind 28 or 30 years later,” she says.

    Arishenkoff said she is cautiously optimistic they’ll be successful in September, adding all they can do is make sure their voices are heard.

    Her secondary goal is to change the legislation that lets mass murders like Ennis apply for parole every two years once they are eligible.

    She said the surviving families go through hell every two years as they confront Ennis at his hearing and are reminded of the horrible events of 1982.

    “The family never gets a chance to heal. “

    For more on Arishenkoff’s campaign to keep David Ennis behind bars you can go to her Facebook page or

    To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

  • Westside Road's rocky reputation hasn't changed

    OKANAGAN - Westside Road is a gateway to stunning provincial parks, scenic motorcycle and cycling routes, and lakeside communities, but it is perhaps better known for its dark side.

    Voted number one in BCAA’s worst road survey, Westside has a poor reputation on its shoulders—where it has any.

    On its northern end, the road recently claimed the lives of two motorcyclists involved in a collision with an SUV. We don’t know what caused the accident, but it wasn’t the first time someone has died or injured themselves on that stretch.

    RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says there have been three fatalities in the North Okanagan section of the road in the past six years, and many more non-fatal accidents. Moving southward to Kelowna, the problems continue. That’s why groups have been pushing the province to improve the safety of the road, but it’s slow going.

    New Westside-Kelowna MLA Premier Christy Clark announced $1 million for paving work on the notorious road last summer. More money has gone to improving lane and shoulder widths, and realigning sections of the road, but many kilometres remain covered in potholes and crumbling pavement.

    What makes it more dangerous is its many twists and turns, traffic hazards, and the tendency for drivers to speed over it.

    “The speed limit is low for a number of reasons,” Molendyk says. “It’s a narrow, windy road, that goes through residential areas. There’s free range cattle on the road at any given time as well as wildlife.”

    Because of these things, Molendyk says there’s more potential for accidents to occur. The speed limit ranges from 50-70 km/h but many drivers are tempted to hit the gas pedal.

    The Ministry of Transportation estimates approximately 1,000 vehicles use the the 65 km stretch between West Kelowna and Highway 97 in the North Okanagan every day. That number rises to an average 2,500 south of Bear Creek Provincial Park in the summer. Due to the high volume of traffic—which often includes cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users—it’s more important than ever to watch the road and stick to the speed limit.

    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.

  • BREAKING: Arrest made in Amanda Todd case

    A Dutch media outlet is reporting the arrest of a 35-year-old man in the Netherlands in connection with the Amanda Todd case.

    The media report says he faces harassment and extortion allegations.

    The 15-year-old Port Coquitlam, B.C., girl killed herself in October 2012, after posting a YouTube video detailing her harassment.

    More coming...


    Arrest made in connection with online bullying of Amanda Todd - Global News

    Amanda Todd bullying leads to arrest in Netherlands - CBC

    Amanda Todd Legacy Society - Official website

  • NHL playoffs filled with Rockets, Blazers, Vees and Vipers

    THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — The National Hockey League playoffs began this week and all but three of the 16 teams that made it to the first round have a player that at some point played for Kamloops or Kelowna during their Western Hockey League career.

    In total, 17 former Blazers or Rockets are playing in the playoffs right now while another nine are in coaching or management positions.

    Even more impressive is the number of former Rockets currently playing. Only four teams in the running for the Stanley Cup do not have a former Kelowna player on the roster.

    In total a fifth of all players in the NHL this season, 187 of 983, were part of the WHL at one point and another 70 WHL graduates are currently in coaching or management positions.

    Another half dozen players and staffers have also played with the Penticton or Vernon teams of the B.C. Hockey League at some point in their career.

    Nolan Yonkman, Kelowna Rockets
    Asst. Coach Scott Niedermayer, Kamloops Blazers

    Jarome Iginla, Kamloops Blazers

    Duncan Keith, Kelowna Rockets (and lived in Penticton as a teenager)
    Kris Versteeg, Kamloops Blazers

    Tyson Barrie, Kelowna Rockets

    Blake Comeau, Kelowna Rockets
    Ryan Johansen, Penticton Vees

    Jamie Benn, Kelowna Rockets  (older brother Jordie also plays for the Stars)
    Vernon Fiddler, Kelowna Rockets
    Advisor, Hockey Ops. Mark Recchi, Kamloops Blazers (from Kamloops)
    Scout, Dennis Holland, Vernon Lakers

    Mitch Callahan, Kelowna Rockets
    GM, Ken Holland, Vernon Vikings
    Head Coach Mike Babcock, Kelowna Wings
    Asst. Coach Tom Renney, Kamloops Blazers
    Scout, Marty Stein, Vernon Essos

    Robyn Regehr, Kamloops Blazers
    Dir. Goaltender Development Kim Dillabaugh, Kelowna Rockets

    Brett Bulmer, Kelowna Rockets
    Asst. Coach Darryl Sydor, Kamloops Blazers

    Josh Gorges, Kelowna Rockets (from Kelowna)
    Travis Moen, Kelowna Rockets

    Luke Schenn, Kelowna Rockets
    Head Coach Craig Berube, Kamloops Jr. Oilers/Blazers

    Chuck Kobasew, Kelowna Rockets
    Beau Benneett, Penticton Vees

    Scott Hannan, Kelowna/Tacoma Rockets

    Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, Kamloops Blazers
    Goaltending Consultant Corey Hirsch, Kamloops Blazers

    Eric Brewer (from Vernon)

    Round one of the playoffs will conclude by the end of the month. The top four teams in each conference will then face-off  to determine who will play in the Western and Eastern Conference finals. The winners of each conference will then play for the Stanley Cup. Each series is a best of seven format, taking a minimum of four games to determine a winner.

    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.

  • Explosives charges laid against Okanagan man after busts in Oyama, West Kelowna

    VANCOUVER - A 36-year-old Oyama man faces explosives and weapons charges, nearly six months after he was arrested in the Okanagan for allegedly possessing and making explosive devices.

    The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit says John Neufeld faces a total of four charges, including one count of possession of an explosive substance, after raiding homes in Oyama and West Kelowna last September.

    Police say they seized bomb-making equipment ranging from modified timers and batteries to wired wooden boxes and dismantled shotgun shells, although no full-built bombs or explosive devices were found.

    Weapons including several compound bows, a crossbow and over-capacity magazines were also seized.

    Police say the investigation centres on possible gang-related criminal activity and there is no indication that the explosives or weapons were linked to terrorism or extremism.

    Neufeld is not in custody and has been ordered to appear before a provincial court judge in Kelowna on April 28.

  • Heavy snow on highways for long weekend

    THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — If you plan on travelling during the Easter long weekend allow for extra time—highway passes are expected to get heavy snowfall before the time Good Friday rolls around.

    A Pacific cold front moving across the Interior will bring precipitation this morning and up to 10 cm of snow to the higher summits including Pennask Summit and Kootenay Pass, during the day. The snow level will lower to 1,000 m during the evening, bringing snow to the rest of the mountain passes along the Coquihalla Highway, the Okanagan Connector and Highway 3.

    Accumulations are expected to range between 5-10 cm by Friday morning, though Kootenay Pass and the Coquihalla Summit should see amounts reaching closer to 15 cm. Strong winds will also develop overnight, creating blowing snow conditions and creating poor visibility.

    Okanagan communities, Vernon through Penticton, can expect rain today with a 60-70 per cent chance of rain on Friday and a 40 per cent chance Saturday. In total 10-20 mm of rain could fall through Friday. Temperatures will sit a few degrees below normal though Saturday before warming up to just above normal for Sunday and Easter Monday, though there will still be clouds and a chance of rain those days.

    In Kamloops there is a 70 per cent chance of rain on Thursday and a 40 per cent chance on Friday. Temperatures will remain a couple degrees below the seasonal normal of 17 C throughout the weekend.

    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.

  • Two men rescue mom and two sons after car hits truck and flips on B.C. highway

    NANAIMO, B.C. - Police say a 38-year-old woman whose car hit a logging truck on a Nanaimo, B.C., highway, flipping upside down with her two young sons inside has a couple of rescuers to thank.

    RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien says the woman was travelling in the fast lane on the Trans-Canada Highway with her seven- and two-year-old boys when she suddenly lost control and swerved into the other lane.

    O'Brien says her vehicle struck the back of the truck and landed on its roof on the side of the road on Monday afternoon.

    He says the first motorist to stop reported the woman had a gash on her forehead while her older boy was crawling out of the vehicle and she was screaming for her younger son to be taken out.

    O'Brien says both men worked hard to remove the toddler from his car seat while smelling gas and stayed with the family until paramedics arrived.

    The boys were examined and release from hospital, while the woman, who police say will likely face charges, was kept in hospital overnight for observation.

  • Police: US woman accused of killing 6 infants, storing them in garage, gave birth at home

    SALT LAKE CITY - A woman accused of concealing seven pregnancies before strangling or suffocating her newborns gave birth each time in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

    Investigators have determined that Megan Huntsman, 39, did not go to a hospital to have the babies, Police Capt. Mike Roberts said. He didn't say if anybody helped her give birth.

    After her estranged husband discovered one of the infant corpses in the garage this past weekend, Huntsman acknowledged to police that she killed six of the babies, put them in plastic bags and then packed them inside boxes in the garage of her home south of Salt Lake City over a decade from 1996 to 2006. She told police one of the babies was stillborn.

    Huntsman was arrested Sunday on six counts of murder. She is being held on $6 million bail — $1 million for each baby — and is due in court Monday for an arraignment.

    Investigators have an initial theory on Huntsman's motive but aren't discussing it publicly, Roberts said.

    He did say that Huntsman also hid her pregnancies with her two oldest daughters, now in their early 20s, from extended family until she was at the hospital. Neighbours have said they never knew she was pregnant, though they now remember weight fluctuations and toggling between baggy and tight clothes.

    "So, she apparently knows how to do it," Roberts said.

    Her husband, Darren West, told police in his initial interview that he knew nothing about the pregnancies, Roberts said. He has since obtained an attorney and investigators haven't spoken with him again, Roberts said. They are trying to determine his knowledge or involvement.

    If Huntsman's timeline is accurate, that would mean West was living with Huntsman during the time of the births. He went to federal prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine. West was released from a federal prison in California in January and transferred to a halfway house in Salt Lake City.

    Through a family spokesman, West has declined comment. The West family has said in a statement released Sunday that they are in a "state of shock and confusion" and that they're mourning "this tragic loss of life."

    Utah investigators are examining DNA from the babies to determine who the parents are, studying the bones to find out how long ago the babies died and have questioned family members and neighbours in pursuit of clues about how she did it. They are trying to determine why she did it and who else, if anybody, knew about it or was involved.

    They have not ruled out making more arrests.

    On Tuesday, they served a new search warrant at the house of a family member, Roberts said, but that turned up nothing useful.

    He said investigators are poring over evidence to find out if Huntsman gave birth and killed any other babies, but they don't believe that to be the case, he said.


    Associated Press news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.