Archive

Tag Archives: youtube

Lately, platforms, have experienced a significant use and growth. This study takes a critical media approach to exploring how the platform YouTube is an articulation of Web 2.0’s celebratory account of the individual in the digital and networked public sphere. In the thesis, a platform-based approach is followed to examine the socio-political structure of YouTube. In applying the concept of governmentality by Michel Foucault to the form and structure of the platform, ‘community’ is reconstituted as a ‘population’ that co-determines the wealth of the platform. The concept of platform mosaics is developed as an aesthetic metaphor to explain how the user is managed as a collective of individuals. The symbiotic interrelation between user and machine suggests how the new social relations in contemporary digital networked information society have not become more democratic, but that the individual has become homogenized. The mosaic is symbolic for the platform-user symbiosis and emerges as an unprecedented form of individualization mediated by the platform as a host for content distribution. The case study of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir and Natalie Bookchin’s Mass Ornament will function as an immanent critique of the platform to ground how the individual is governed as a collective of separate, homologous subjects.

Grand, and pretty interesting premise in this thesis – looking forward to reading this one.

As citizens continue to play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage from around the world, YouTube is committed to creating even better tools to help them. According to the international human rights organization WITNESS’ Cameras Everywhere report, “No video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers users the option to blur faces or protect identity.”

YouTube is excited to be among the first.

Today we’re launching face blurring – a new tool that allows you to obscure faces within videos with the click of a button.

(YouTube Global Blog, 18 July 2012)

Advocacy in any arena generally takes a long long time. In this context we’re talking about pressuring key Silicon Valley companies that have gone in under a decade from being simple technology providers to being an integral part of everyday human activity across much of the planet.

That one line quoted above was something we’d been talking to YouTube/Google about for 4 years (and that’s more than half of YouTube’s own existence). Those who can make seemingly simple changes like this happen are busy people operating within multiple sets of interlocking wheels of law and policy, and myriad competing internal demands. The conversations with these people started before I got to WITNESS, and they continued after I left in mid-2010 (and continue to this day) – and as the Cameras Everywhere report shows, there’s still plenty to discuss in the future.

Here are my personal recollections and reflections on how the conversations with YouTube that I was involved in developed – with the accent strongly on “personal”. Since I left WITNESS 2 years ago, I’m not party to the latest conversations between YouTube and WITNESS – but I do know where the seeds came from and how they took root. Over at the WITNESS blog Sam Gregory explains the human rights dimension of this move by YouTube.

I am sharing this therefore partial account in the hope that reading a little about our experience will give succour to other activists and researchers running into what seem like brick walls right now. Keep talking, keep trusting, and keep pushing… and embrace serendipity.

[Thurs 19 July – I’ve slightly clarified some of the written-at-1.30am-language…]
[Sun 22 July – further clarification, including of when I left WITNESS.]

Read More

Today in San Francisco, I’m moderating a panel at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference. I’ll be joined by Steve Grove (formerly of YouTube, now of Google+), Sam Gregory of WITNESS, Hans Eriksson of Bambuser, and Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation and Oslo Freedom Forum.

You can watch the video live here, or follow the tireless Katherine Maher’s liveblog here. And we’ll try to take questions via Twitter for about 20 minutes after the panel ends at the hashtag #rightscon.

(After the panel, I’ll add any videos or resources we bring up or show into this page.)

[Cross-posted from the YouTube blog]

About a month ago, as part of our series of blogs about human rights and video with WITNESS.org, we asked for your thoughts and ideas on some of the key topics on the future of video activism. Now we’re responding to some of your top-voted questions and comments within the Moderator series we set up to facilitate the discussion. We’ve picked out some of the top-rated responses below, and to see the full discussion on privacy, impact, and classification of human rights videos online, click here.

But the conversation only grows from here. This week, we’ve gathered with around 300 activists, nonprofits, and thought leaders in Budapest for Internet at Liberty 2010, a conference that Google is sponsoring in conjunction with the Central European University to examine key issues in online free expression. We’ve been collecting your thoughts on how to keep the Internet safe for online free expression in another Moderator series; many of your ideas will be discussed in the panels and discussions that take place in Hungary. The conference will be live streamed, and we’ll post videos of the session to a special YouTube channel dedicated to the discussions that take place.

People everywhere use platforms like YouTube to share their stories with the world every day. Sometimes those stories are as simple as an idea, a thought or a diary of life through your eyes; other times, those stories expose abuses of power or human rights violations in ways that are changing how justice is served around the world. Whatever you decide to use the web for, we believe it’s vital to a free society to keep the Internet open, and it’s through discussions like these that we can continue to teach each other how to do so.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, YouTube, and Sameer Padania for WITNESS
Read More

[Cross-posted from the YouTube blog.]

Government police shutting down farmer’s protests in China. A tobacco company employing under-age workers in Kazakhstan. Iranian merchants striking to protest tax increases in Tehran. We’ve seen stories like these on our computers and phones every day, and we’ve been documenting many of them on our breaking news feed onCitizentube over the past few months. Videos like these are more than just breaking news images; they’re often political statements meant to bring about change.

Earlier this summer we started a blog series with WITNESS, a human rights video advocacy and training organization, examining the role of online video in human rights. So far we’ve talked about why video matters to human rights and how you can protect yourself and the people you film when uploading to YouTube. In this post, we want to raise some key topics about the future of human rights video online, and to hear your thoughts and ideas in a special Moderator series that we’ve set up on these questions:

How can uploaders balance privacy concerns with the need for wider exposure?

YouTube and other websites give citizens the opportunity to tell stories that would otherwise not get get heard. But what if wider exposure could be harmful to the people you’ve captured on video? At Google and YouTube, we talk a lot about the privacy of your personal data, but what about the privacy of your personal visual identity? There are some exciting technologies that can automatically identify human faces in digital media, but the implications of these technologies need to be considered carefully: if improperly implemented, they could make it even easier for governments and oppressive regimes to identify, track down and arrest activists or protesters (this has happened in Burma and Iran). While we’ve said before that people should consider blurring the faces in human rights videos and getting consent from those they film, inevitably judgment calls need to be made by uploaders who are trying to get footage out quickly to massive audiences to raise awareness. How do you think uploaders can find the right balance?

How can we stay alert to human rights footage without getting de-sensitized to it?

What image first opened your eyes to a human rights issue? In the past, in many countries, human rights images were largely filtered through the news media. But today, nearly everyone has seen a video or photo on the Internet that has made them aware of injustice. With access to these kinds of images getting easier, and more stories appearing from more places, the sheer quantity of this content risks either overwhelming viewers, or desensitizing us to its value. Researchers, educators and legislators are all thinking about how to build media literacy for the virtual age — and human rights is a growing part of that discussion. How do you think people can stay alert to the power of these images without becoming immune to them?

Does human rights content online require some kind of special status?

As many of the examples in this blog series illustrate, human rights video is unique, and it requires special consideration by viewers, activists, legislators and online platforms. At YouTube, our terms of service carve out special exceptions for videos that have educational, scientific, or documentary value. But in many cases, human rights content is subjective and requires special interpretation — and now that video can spread far and wide and can easily be reused and remixed beyond its original context (including by human rights abusers themselves), it’s even more important to follow some common guidelines. Every online hosting platform on the web has its own policies for dealing with this content and slowly, a new set of ethics and guidelines is developing in this arena. What do you think those guidelines should look like? And do you think human rights video deserves some kind of special status across the web? Why or why not?

We’d like to hear your thoughts on these questions. Submit your responses or questions to our Moderator series on Citizentube, in video or in text, and we’ll continue the conversation with thoughts on some of your top-voted submissions in a future post.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, YouTube, and Sameer Padania for WITNESS