More Flickr Woes

Dump Your Pen Friend
Originally uploaded by sesh00

I, like many of my friend, have recently joined facebook. Unlike Flickr it has drawn in a lot of people who are not normally of the technical persuasion. They think it is great to upload pictures usually of some drunken night where the participants look a little worse for wear. I recently noted to a friend that I like the tutu she was wore out one night. The only problem was I wasn’t there and I saw the picture from a non-mutual friend that tagged the image on her facebook wall. She was a little surprised and didn’t know that people could do that, but in this case it was innocent enough.

Like the early days of e-mail, i.e. when regular punters started using it (not the techie weirdos that usually play nice when it comes to computers) there were many stories of people hitting reply all instead of reply and the embarrassment that ensued from some off colour humour reaching the wrong person or persons. Over time the netiquette of e-mail has settled down and there are now less of these reply-all stories as people have learned either the hard way or some horror story.

The new netiquette comes to taking and posting photograph of other people to the internet. The examples are beginning to rack up. Just this week Virgin mobile in Australia have found themselves sued by a Texas family after their 16 year daughter, Alison Chang, was featured in a ad campaign. Virgin used an image that was uploaded Alison’s youth counselor that was released under creative commons. As a result of her image being they are seeking damages :

Claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and website advertisements without consent

The technical legal details are abound. They correctly used the image under creative commons however they did not have a model release for for the feature participant. In the past it was usually the photographer that took care of this, but he/she was also a professional who living was selling of said photographs.

However while Virgin might find themselves on the wrong end of this one and will hopefully learn from it. I think the blame also reside with the person who uploaded the photograph, the youth counselor, Justin Wong. Blinding uploading pictures of other people without their permission is going to cause a lot of problems. Just because you don’t mind having your life laid bare on the internet for all the world to see doesn’t mean every body else feels that way.

As a result of cases like this and other emergent problems, I have been trying to educate friends and show them when and how they are leaking information that probably wouldn’t prefer. Also as a Flickr pro user I have marked all pictures containing people as visible to family and friend only, it is a shame that only flickr users can only be marked as family or friend.

It is a shame that Alison picture was used in that way by Virgin, I don’t think it was with malice just as a bit of a laugh and I hope that when she matures a bit she’ll find out that there are plenty of worse things in life. She may even be able to ride out the noterity, maybe she should take some notes from Britney Spears defender Chris Crocker, who went from been slagged off one day for his over the top YouTube video to been given his own MTV reality TV show.

spock – Strike 1

I have been keeping an eye on the people search website spock for a while. It being part of the new wave of web 2.0 projects that is trying to tie down peoples online identities with there real life carbon based fat asses. Their goal is to index people from various source on the Internet including LinkedIn, XING, Myspace, Friendster and Wikipedia.

While they have said they are committed to the privacy of their users, I was surprised to receive an e-mail from them this morning, one of the first I have received since I signed up at their website. This is the body of the e-mail :


As one of Spock’s newest users, I wanted to let you know about a cool search on Spock.

You can find out who Spock users think should be the top results for fun searches like Arrested for Drunk Driving.

Log onto Spock and check it out!

Have Fun!
The Spock Team

Now am I the only person that think it strange the one of the first communiques highlights such an invasion of privacy, drink driving while frowned upon is probably something that people would like to keep to them selves. While this search may be possible, for an emergent company like spock I would have thought they would stick with the warm and fuzzy functionality that is possible. A bit like the way bitTorrent is always sold as having legitimate applications (which it does, I downloaded Ubuntu 7.04 using it) the bulk of the applications would be considered illegitimate (That is an argument for the courts and the ISPs).

spock isn’t the only website getting in on the web 2.0 ability to connect with the real world. Another website to keep an eye on includes the sexual relationship database :

In an effort to better understand society’s interconnected nature, this database was created to serve as a repository for information regarding the sexual histories of individuals, across the world and throughout time.

which allows people to assign former sexual partners to any name they can find, though I am convinced that this is a hoax, though the company behind the website, world health optimization management or W.H.O.M. (?), only returns 4 hits on google… If it isn’t a hoax it will more than likely get spammed out of existence by warring teenagers making up who had sex with who (even though none of them are).

And finally polar rose, which I have covered before, that is developing facial image search technology so that individuals can be found all over the Internet. They however have been quite for a while and I’m still waiting to see the bulk of their work.

Polar Rose – Web Stalking 2.0

Web stalking, until now the purvue of clammy skinned, online geeks, is soon to get an web 2.0 upgrade. Polar rose, a startup company that is based in Sweden, have announced that they are entering the new phase of development and are preparing to unleash version 0.18 of their plugin for Firefox. For those that are not aware of this tool Polar Rose how to deploy a face scanning technology where they can link faces found all over the internet. While, to be fair, on their web site that they are working towards preserving the privacy of people who do not wish to be found. It is hard to imagine how to re-bottle this genie once it gets out and into the hands of less magnanimous people.

While there are probably many nefarious things that could happen. It will make taking a mental health day a little more demanding as you have to make sure you don’t have your picture taken and uploaded while your supposed to be laid up in bed. Already in a constantly connected world this is happening. In March of this year, 6 New Zealander students were busted in their school uniform at the Boobs on Bikes parade when they were supposed to be on their lunch break. They were lucky to only end up with detention when there photgraph was beamed around the world.

For now I am getting a robots.txt tattoo on my forehead and hope that works.