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Why private pics shouldn’t go online

Berlin - Don't put too many of your personal photographs up online - and make sure they're only accessible to friends, regardless of the announced intentions of the online platform - advises Till Kreutzer of the online portal irights.info.

“I don't have to document everything about my private life, to say nothing of uploading it.”

Instagram sent a tweet saying it was aware some users were having trouble loading Instagram and that was working on the problem. Credit: REUTERS

Photo service Instagram recently caused waves by releasing new terms of use containing a sentence that could be interpreted to read that Instagram could sell user's pictures to other businesses. The offending sentence was quickly withdrawn, along with assurances that the company has no plans to sell pictures.

But that's no reason to stop worrying about where people post pictures, says Kreutzer.

“These free services are incredibly expensive for the operators,” said the legal expert. “Data is like a currency for them, with which the user pays.” People need to be aware of that when uploading everything from photos to text to links.

The sale of photos is only allowed when it explicitly says so in the terms of use. And such phrasing is illegal in some countries.

The key is to worry about how visible a picture is.

“On a platform like Instagram, there are millions of pictures, sometimes by professional photographers,” he says. “It's pretty unlikely that they'll pick my picture for an advertising campaign.”

It's more likely that pictures will be called up when someone performs a search for a specific name.

“If I apply for a job with someone, then suddenly the sins of my youth might pop up,” warns Kreutzer. That's why private pictures should only be accessible to the user and a tight circle of contacts. Most photo platforms offer a variety of settings to ensure such standards. - Sapa-dpa

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