Flickr Bug Screws Users’ Photo Privacy

Flickr Home Page | Official Website

Flickr Home Page | Official Website

Due to a recent bug, Flickr users are livid once again. The said bug, which was discovered during routine site maintenance, causes private photos to be made public.

It was also reported that only a small percentage of uploaded images, particularly those uploaded between April and December 2012, were affected by the software bug. Although the affected images did not appear on search results, there were visible on Flickr between January 18 and February 7.

Flickr did not acknowledge the issue on its official blog, although affected users were notified individually. Some users even posted their message from Flickr Vice President Brett Wayn in an online forum thread.

Flickr Bug Causes Worry to Users

Obviously, the issue caused worry to users after they found out that an image’s privacy settings can be changed spontaneously. There were some who voiced out that the “very frustrating” situation is enough for them to go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Flickr may have made things worse while fixing the problem, as they set any potentially affected photos to “private”. This means that the links and embeds associated with a particular image for other website will no longer work.

That’s because a public photo private on Flickr changes its URL. Furthermore, the HTML code needs to be manually corrected for each photo. As one food blogger named MommyNamedApril said in the forum:

Not only do I have to go back and change all the permissions, but changing the permissions changes the code, which means I have to go through each post and reapply all my pictures. This is hundreds of pictures. I am utterly disgusted and shaking I am so angry.

The Risk of Being Exposed on the Internet

However, some Internet users believe that nothing is safe on the Internet. As pointed out by Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Digital Rights Analyst Rebecca Jeschke:

Things that are set to “private” are always at some risk of being accidentally exposed or accessed in some other way. That’s something it’s important to think about anytime you upload something to an application or store it in the cloud.

In response to this, however, Flickr said that they’ve put additional measures to make sure that the problem won’t happen again.

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