Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Online Photos

I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away
- Paul Simon lyrics to Kodachrome
US News asks, "Is It Safe to Post Photos Online? It's a wonderful thing to share photos online but those photos can also be stolen and misused. Imagine your face used in an online dating service by someone not blessed with your good looks. Will friends believe you when you say, "But that's not me!"  Or your photo used by an advertiser without permission.

1. Check your online privacy settings.
Never allow everyone access to your photos. Restrict them to friends only.

2. Make sure you know who your friends are.
I have over 200 connections on LinkedIn. Are all these people really my friends? Do I trust every one of them? Consider de-friending anyone you don't trust 100%.

3. Disable the GPS technology before taking photos with a smartphone.
Even regular cameras are starting to apply GPS data to digital photos. When you post a photo with GPS data embedded, anyone can know where the photo was taken. Fun perhaps for a vacation photo but risky if the photo was taken at home.

4. Watch out for lower-tech ways of sharing too much personal information.
Your child's T-shirt could contain a school logo. Blur out your car license plate in any photos you post.

5. Don't post embarrassing photos.
Once posted, items on the internet may never die. Even dead websites can be brought back to life with http://wayback.archive.org/web/ or Google cache. Photo facial recognition is getting more and more powerful so in a few years it may be trivial for anyone to find online naked baby photos that match an adult face.

6. No means no.
If a friend or relative posts photos of your child and you don't want them to, ask them to take them down. If they refuse, some sites allow you to flag a photo as objectionable and taken down at your request.

7. Use a watermark.
Watermarks can be visible or invisible and will help prove that you own a photo if it's stolen and makes millions of dollars selling coffee. A watermark is an image or text that is mixed into the image itself.

Bottom Line

Share with friends but protect your photos.

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