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Flickr's Screwup
By: Jessica Cherok
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If you are one of the many who ceremoniously quit Instagram in the wake of their Privacy Policy snafu and went to Flickr as your trusted photo sharing service, you may have heard about the recent bug that exposed some users' photos. Or maybe you haven’t, since Flickr has tried really hard to keep things quiet.

Photos uploaded from April 2012 to December 2012 may have been open to public viewing despite users having set the viewing to private. Flickr has gone about emailing affected users, all in an effort to avoid privacy outrage. Certainly you can’t blame them, considering how much user privacy in social media has been in the news recently.

Users, of course, would be irked — in particular those who left Instagram for Flickr as a privacy safe haven. Which brings us to the point: Why is it near impossible to have decent privacy in social media?

To start, it’s a lot of new territory. Surely you’ve heard that the expression that law hasn’t caught up with technology. Completely true, but that’s not something new. Certainly there weren’t driving laws until after the invention of the automobile.

It’s an unfortunately complex issue, despite how simple it may seem to us — the user. There aren’t a lot of regulations, or even industry standards, governing how companies treat our information. And while there has been a big push to create governmental oversight of how it’s handled, that’s still a long way off.

So what do you do in the meantime? Make good and gosh darn sure that what you post online is something you’re okay with being seen by everyone.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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