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Redaction Tools: Why Blur Out License Plates in Video

Blur Out License Plates in Video
February 20, 2023
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Redaction tools are software tools that are used to obscure or remove sensitive information from videos and images. A common use of video redaction is to blur out license plates in video footage. But why blur out license plates? Often this is done to protect the privacy of individuals. This is particularly important in the context of security cameras, traffic cameras, and other surveillance technologies that are used to record public spaces.

By using redaction tools to blur out license plates, organizations and individuals can ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected, while still allowing the footage to be used for its intended purpose. Additionally, it helps organizations to comply with legal regulations as well as data protection and privacy laws

Why Blur Out License Plates in Video

Why Parking Lot Management Companies Record Vehicle License Plates

Parking management businesses may have several uses for recording license plates. One is to identify and track vehicles to administer parking tickets, locate cars in parking lots, and keep track of which vehicles are parked in specific areas. License plate numbers are unique identifiers that can be easily recorded and tracked, making them an efficient and effective way for parking management to identify and manage vehicles.

When a vehicle is parked in a designated area, parking management technology can record the license plate number and check it against a database to see if the vehicle has any outstanding parking violations or if the parking spot has been paid for. If a violation is found, a parking ticket can be issued to the vehicle's registered owner. This allows parking management to enforce parking regulations and ensure compliance with parking rules.

CCTV camera in underground parking lot

In addition to enforcing parking regulations, license plates are also used to locate and identify vehicles in parking lots. If a vehicle is lost or stolen, parking management can quickly check the license plate number against a database to determine the vehicle's location and notify the owner. Creating awareness of cameras and the recording of license plates can deter theft and vandalism, as individuals will know that their actions will be recorded and traced.

Overall, license plates are an important tool for parking management as they provide a unique identifier for each vehicle which can be easily recorded and tracked, allowing for efficient and effective parking management. 

However, it is crucial to ensure that data privacy concerns and regulations are taken into account when sharing data with third parties. For this reason, parking management and other industries dealing with license plate data need to implement a redaction strategy to uphold the privacy of individuals. 

CCTV Privacy Concerns in Public Parking Lots

Privacy Concerns in Public Parking Lots

Video surveillance, also known as closed-circuit television (CCTV), is a popular security measure that is often used in public parking lots to deter crime and monitor activity. However, there are significant privacy concerns associated with the use of CCTV in these areas, particularly when it comes to the recording and storage of car number plates.

One major concern is that security cameras in public parking lots can capture and record the number plates of every car that enters and exits the lot. This information can then be stored indefinitely, creating a record of every car that has been on the lot and when it was there. This raises concerns about the potential for misuse of this information, such as by insurance companies or law enforcement agencies, who may use it to track an individual's movements and activities.

Another concern is that video surveillance footage in public parking lots may be used to track the movements of individual cars or even specific people. For example, if a CCTV camera is trained on a specific parking space or area, it could be used to monitor the movements of a specific car or individual over time. This could potentially be used to stalk or harass someone, or to track their movements for other nefarious purposes.

Additionally, there are concerns about the security of the data that is collected by video cameras in public parking lots. Many video surveillance systems are connected to the internet, which means that the data they collect can be vulnerable to hacking or other forms of cyber attack. This could potentially compromise the privacy of the individuals whose car number plates have been recorded.

Overall, while CCTV cameras in public parking lots can be an effective security measure, it's important to be aware of the potential privacy concerns that they raise. It's important to have clear policies in place to govern how this information is collected, stored, and used, as well as to ensure the security of the data storage. Also, it's important to inform people that their number plates will be recorded and why, and for what period of time the data will be stored.

Learn: Video Surveillance Best Practices - CCTV Management Guide 

What Are Video Redaction Tools and What Are They Used For?

Video redaction refers to the process of obscuring or removing certain elements from a video, such as faces, license plates, or sensitive information. This is typically done for legal or security reasons, to protect the privacy of individuals, or to comply with regulations. Video redaction can be done manually or with the use of specialized software tools.

Video redaction tools are used to automatically scan and identify specific elements in a video, such as faces or license plates, and then blur or remove them. These tools can be used for a variety of purposes, such as protecting the privacy of individuals in a surveillance video, obscuring sensitive information in a news segment, or removing identifying information from a video used for training purposes. 

Video redaction tools can also be used to redact audio in a video, such as obscuring a person's voice or removing certain words or phrases. Some video redaction tools also have the ability to automatically detect and redact text in the video, such as credit card numbers or personal identification numbers.

Keep reading: What is Video Redaction 

Why Blur Out License Plates in Video 

Parking management in public parking lots needs to blur out license plates in video and CCTV footage to protect the privacy of individuals who use the parking lot. The license plate number on a vehicle is considered personal information and can be used to track a person's whereabouts, movements, and habits. Blurring out license plates in video footage ensures that this personal information is not captured and shared without the consent of the vehicle owner. 

License Plates Redacted with Sighthound Redactor

Additionally, blurring license plates can also prevent the possibility of theft or fraud, as criminals may use the captured footage to identify and target specific vehicles for theft or other illegal activities. Overall, blurring out license plates in video and CCTV footage is a necessary measure to protect the privacy and security of individuals who use public parking lots.

How to Manually Blur License Plates in Video with Redactor

Redaction tools make it possible to quickly and effortlessly blur license plates in video footage. All you need to do is follow the easy steps listed below: 

  1. First, open the video redaction software Redactor on your computer.
  2. Import the video that you want to edit by clicking on the "Add Videos" button or dragging and dropping the video into the program.
How to import the video that you want to edit
  1. Once the video is loaded, navigate to the frame where the license plate is visible.
  2. Draw a box by clicking and dragging over the area of the license plate. This will create an object that will show the area that’s going to be redacted.
  3. Once you have the box drawn, you can then select a Redaction Type, Intensity, and Shape to get the specific redaction you need.
Select a Redaction Type, Intensity, and Shape to get the specific redaction you need

Note: Redactor will save all redaction work done on a video unless reset from the projects list.

Why Blur Out License Plates in Video
  1. Once you’re comfortable, you can continue to draw as many objects as you need in a video and have them all redacted throughout a video.
  2. When you have all the selections to your liking, click the “Render & Export” button, a processing video screen will appear with a loading bar.
Processing video screen appear with a loading bar
Processing video screen appear with a loading bar
  1. The final product will have the license plate redacted in the video based on your selected Redaction settings.

Final Thoughts: Why Blur Out License Plates in Video

Redaction tools play a crucial role in protecting the privacy of individuals by blurring sensitive information, such as license plates, faces, personal identification numbers, and other personal data in videos and photos. This is particularly important in the context of security cameras, traffic cameras, and other surveillance technologies that are used to record public spaces. 

Parking managers and other organizations should consider using redaction tools as a standard practice to protect personal data and ensure compliance with legal requirements.  

Sighthound Redactor can be used as a stand-alone tool to process uploaded videos, or leverage the API to automate redaction for object types like license plates, or integrated redactor in your video management system.  Talk to our redaction experts today or try Redactor for free now. 

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