Who owns your online pics and tips on where to store them
If you don’t back up your digital pictures, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them to a malfunction or hackers. Unfortunately, using sites such as Facebook and Instagram may give rise to privacy issues. So what are the best options, asks John Hearne
YOU don’t need to be a tech whiz to understand the importance of backing up your photos. In fact, being a tech whiz can put your digital content in more danger than you would think. Ask Mat Honan.
Honan’s account was targeted for very particular reasons. He was an early Twitter user and managed to secure a three character handle. It was this that his hackers sought; deleting his computer was mere collateral damage, designed to deflect attention from their true goal. While the blame for the incident falls both on the hackers, and on lax security protocols at Apple and Amazon, Honan readily accepted that his failure to back up his pictures leaves him shouldering some of the culpability too.
“I should have been regularly backing up my MacBook,” he wrote in the aftermath of the hack. “Because I wasn’t doing that, if all the photos from the first year and a half of my daughter’s life are ultimately lost, I will have only myself to blame.”
Back in the day, there were shoeboxes of photos stashed away in attics, or crammed into old suitcases and left on top of wardrobes. And because film cost money, there was a limit to how many we could stash. These days of course, most of us carry cameras everywhere we go and digital snaps are free, so a huge volume of photographic material is piling up silently on devices everywhere. On Jan 1, no less than 1.1bn photos were uploaded to Facebook.
The curious truth is that despite the seeming frailty of an old photo, the virtual ones we’re constantly gathering are far more ethereal.
Digital rights lawyer Simon McGarr says that we already know all this. “If you ask people what they’re worried about in relation to photos, and you’ve presented the ferragamo m with a bunch of potential things that go wrong, the main thing that they do not like is to hear that their photographs have vanished.”
Make a back up. It’s up there with ‘get a pension’ and ‘shop around’ as one of the most ignored pieces of advice you’ll hear. So here it is again.
“Recommended best practise is you should have three backups,” says McGarr. “One in your house on another drive, one in the cloud and then because the cloud isn’t entirely reliable, one offsite on another drive.”
He readily accepts that few of us are going to do any of this, so he suggests that, as a minimum, you retain a copy of the photograph at home as well as with an online service. When it comes to choosing which online service, it’s pretty clear which one most of us default to.
“Facebook is a particularly bad place to store your photos in my opinion,” says McGarr, “because they’re happy to give you the space for free but they want to use the photos for various things”.
His primary beef with the social networker is the fact that Facebook in the US uses its facial recognition software to automatically tag every photo that gets uploaded. Tagging, as the name suggests, is the process of identifying individuals in a picture. So far, European legislation has prevented Facebook from rolling out that functionality over here but, as McGarr points out, who knows what will happen in the future.
As it stands, tagging can only be done by individual members here, and it is possible to remove the tag if you’re so motivated.
“There’s an enormous biometric database being built up in terms of people’s behaviour and locations, because don’t forget that photographs track locations as well as facial recognition.”
The other point to make about Facebook, and one which is true of most photo sharing sites, is that when you tick acceptance of the terms of conditions, you’re probably accepting a lot more than you think you are.
By uploading to Facebook or to its subsidiary Instagram, while you retain ownership of the photo, you’re giving the company permission to do almost anything they want with it.
Few people really know this of course because probably the most common ferragamo lie we all tell is that we have read and accepted the terms and conditions. Three years ago, on April Fool’s day, online computer game seller Gamestation changed its terms and conditions to state that the company was reserving the right to claim customers’ souls. Not one of the 7,500 people who used the site that day noticed.
Research from investment specialist Skandia two years ago found that just 7% of UK customers read online terms and conditions.
It’s possible that this finding gave Instagram the nudge to doctor its terms and conditions last year, in the hope that no one would notice. On D ferragamo ec 17, the following clause suddenly appeared in the photo sharing site’s terms of service.
“To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
A further clause went on to say that if you’re under 18, “you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provisionon your behalf”.
The internet exploded in indignation. Take my soul if you must but don’t use pictures of me in an ad. The company backtracked quickly and said that these terms had been misinterpreted and would be rewritten, but not before thousands of people, including lawyer Simon McGarr, had packed up their pics and left.
McGarr’s rule of thumb in these circumstances is simple. “A business model where you’re not paying anything at all, ever, generally relies on advertising. A business model where you pay someone to hold the photos generally will indicate that you’re the person who’s the client rather than the product being sold.”
In other words, if you’re getting it for free, you’re probably paying for it in some other way.
And if you do come home and find all your photos wiped? The good news is that Mat Honan did eventually manage to restore his devices and recover his precious photos, thanks to data recovery service DriveSavers. The bad news is that it cost $1,690.
WHAT HAPPENS YOUR PASSWORDS WHEN YOU DIE?
In March 2011, Brendan Kehoe was diagnosed with leukaemia. He and his wife Elana were told that he had six months to live. In the end, he only got four. He died in 2 ferragamo 011, aged only 40.
Kehoe had been an internet pioneer.
He had an email address since the 1980s, and had published his first book, Zen and the Art of the Internet in 1992.