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Why Blur Out License Plates in Video?

Blur Out License Plates in Video
February 20, 2023
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Redaction tools are not just software; they are the guardians of privacy. They obscure or remove sensitive information from videos and images. An everyday 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 individuals' privacy. This is particularly important in the context of security, traffic, and other surveillance (camera) technologies used to record public spaces.

By using redaction tools to blur out license plates, organizations and individuals can protect their privacy while allowing the footage to be used for its intended purpose. Additionally, it helps organizations comply with legal regulations and 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 track which vehicles are parked in specific areas. License plate numbers are unique identifiers that can be quickly 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. A parking ticket can be issued to the vehicle's registered owner if a violation is found. 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 essential tool for parking management as they provide a unique identifier for each vehicle, which can be quickly recorded and tracked, allowing for efficient and effective parking management.

However, it is crucial to consider data privacy concerns and regulations 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

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

One primary 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 vehicle on the lot and when it was there. This extensive data collection poses risks of misuse, potentially by insurance firms or law enforcement bodies, to track individuals' movements without their consent.

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 particular 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 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.

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 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, people, 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 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 various 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 redact audio in a video, such as obscuring a person's voice or removing certain words or phrases. Some video redaction tools also can 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 this personal information is not captured and shared without the vehicle owner's consent.

License Plates Redacted with Sighthound Redactor

Additionally, blurring license plates can prevent 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. Ready to protect privacy in your videos? Here's how you can easily blur license plates using Redactor:

  1. Start by Opening Redactor: Launch the software to get started.
  2. Import Your Video: Click 'Add Videos' or drag and drop your file into Redactor.
Import Your Video:
  1. Find the License Plate: Navigate through your video to the frame showing the plate.
  2. Mark the Object Area: Click and drag to draw a box over the license plate, setting it up for redaction.
  3. Customize Your Redaction: Choose your blur's type, intensity, and shape to obscure the plate perfectly.

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

Note: Redactor will save all redaction work done on a video unless reset from the projects list.
  1. Expand Your Redaction: Feel free to add more objects anywhere in the video for redaction.
  2. Render and Export: Hit 'Render & Export' to process your video. A progress bar will show you the magic happening.
Render and Export:
  1. Enjoy Your Redacted Video: The license plate will now be blurred, protecting privacy.

Other follow-along video tutorials can be found in our Beginner’s Guide to Easy Redaction YouTube series.

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, traffic, and other surveillance technologies 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, leverage the Redactor API to automate redaction for object types like license plates, or integrate Redactor into your video management system. Talk to our redaction experts today, or get free access to Redactor now and try it out yourself.

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