Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Blurring sensitive data from photos, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- In this day and age, social networks make it possible for us to instantaneously upload photos from our lives to all our friends in the world. Now, with these photos here and yours, most viewers will be drawn right into the focal point in the photo, which is what we want. The people in this photo and the car in this one, but you don't want anyone with sharp eyes to notice the smaller details. For example, this car's license place is clearly visible, and also, you can see the bus number here. You don't want people to see things like a street intersection name on a sign post of a photo right in front of your house.
And, also a child could be smiling nicely, but they might be wearing a school logo t-shirt. You probably don't want to be broadcasting these things to people. So, here's some tools that you can use that come free, built-in to Windows that you can very easily edit things out of your photos. I'm going to close these out. We'll get back to the desktop and start right from the very beginning. The first thing I'm going to show you is how to use a program called Paint. To do this, I'm going to right-click on my photo and select 'Edit'. This is going to bring up a program called Microsoft Paint.
And, Microsoft Paint has been around since the very early editions of Windows. I'm going to use the scroll bars to find the area on my photo that I want to hide. In this case, it's the bus number. The method that I'm going to use here is to first choose this background color to be the same color as the bus and then I'm going to use this eraser tool to erase the number six. What I first need to do is select the color of the bus. I'm going to click on this color picker tool and now, I'm going to pick an area that right near the six.
I want to get as close as possible to it, so that it blends as nicely as possible. Because I need to select the background color, I'm going to use my right mouse button and click. You'll notice that as soon as I did that, color number two has changed to this orange color. The color picker has picked up the color that I sampled and has placed it as the background color. Now, I can choose my eraser tool. I'll click the eraser and it's a simple matter now of click and dragging with my mouse to actually erase that six.
It doesn't have to be entirely perfect because I'm just doing this so I can post it on a social network. In fact, when I zoom away from the picture, and I can do that by clicking the minus sign in the bottom right hand side of the screen to zoom out. you'll notice that you can still see it ever so slightly, but that six is gone and it hasn't gotten in the way of distracting the rest of my picture, which is really the important part. From here, it's just a matter of saving the picture. I'm going to close out of this for now though, and I'll show you how to do the next one.
There's another program that you can use, too. You can use another photo editing software that's native in Windows. To access this program, I'm going to right-click on my photo and instead of choosing 'Edit', I'm going to select 'Open with', and instead of Paint, I'm going to choose 'Photos'. This is going to open up a full screen app. I can see my picture, and what we're going to do here is actually, blur out this license plate. I'm going to move my mouse and click on the bottom of the screen to bring up a menu.
From here, on the right hand side, I'm going to click 'Edit'. The editing tools are going to pop up on the left hand side and I'll choose 'Basic Fixes'. The basic fix that I want to choose is using the retouch tool. This is going to allow me to blur out anything. Now, normally it's used for portraits, to retouch any blemishes or defects that are in your picture, but in this case, I'm going to actually use it and click on my license plate. It's going to blur the screen around. I can get it to a point where it's no longer readable, but you'll notice that it's still keeping the colors in that license plate.
So, it hasn't actually altered, or it won't distract from the photo in any way. Once I'm done, I can click on the bottom of the screen again and either save a brand new copy of the photo, or update the original photo. In this case, I'll choose 'Save a copy', and now to exit out of this photo, I can simply move my mouse to the top of the screen, and click the 'X' on the right hand side. Now, my photos are safe to post on social networks and I've hid any personal data, or any revealing information that might give away my or somebody else's privacy.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings