Monday, 20 February 2012

Photo Sharing


It has been an interesting few days, the subject of sharing photos has come up a couple of time, not least regarding security.

While showing a few photos to somebody in world, they asked if I was scared and how could I do it?

But how can it hurt me? The photos were on a Prim, I just showed, I didn't give. She couldn't take them away and give them to anybody else. And what if she had taken a snapshot? Who is she going to give them too? Yes you could see a nipple in a few of them but so what? So all she would have is a picture of a semi-naked woman which she can tie to Vicky Caramel, an AVI... a character in a computer game. No way to tie it to the real me because I hide my identity well.

However, uploading photos to SL is not in my opinion the best way of doing things. Not the most secure. The reason being that I have heard that people have had their accounts 'hacked' and taken from them. I usually suspect that these people have been tricked out of their passwords, but you never know. It isn't that important to me, if somebody hacked and took my account I'd be more worried about all the time and money i had spent on the account than any photos, but thats because the photos don't put me at any great risk.
The risk for most would be that the husband finds the account, guesses the password, and looks through it. That could be awkward for many but not for me as my husband is aware of what I do.

So if you want to share photos, but don't want to risk your relationship, the best option would be to tell your partner and see if they are okay with it. It seems few want to even raise the question as they don't want to make the partner aware of the possibility which is understandable. So we'll move on...

If you wanted to hide a box of incriminating documents in RL, would you hide them in your coat pocket? Bury them in your garden? OR bury them out in a forrest?

Obviously, to me at least, the answer is to bury them in the forrest. But for many who don't really understand the internet, and haven't really thought about the problem, the temptation is to keep the contraband close.

Once again this week I met somebody who insisted on keeping her photos on a USB memory stick. This idea is completely insane from a security point of view.

I was going to suggest it, but she did come up with the idea on her own that she wouldn't include face shots, which is good. It would prevent a stranger from identifying her, but I'm sure her husband would recognize her body, and any family member would recognize the house the photos are taken in.

So if a family member did stumble across the memory stick, they would know it was hers, the storage space on a memory stick isn't that big, and the files are likely to be limited in number anyway, so it wouldn't take that long to search for images -- you would be caught red handed.

Worse, if you did lose the stick, anybody finding it is bound to search if for any 'naughties', I'm sure we all would wouldn't we? As it's your stick, it has your stuff on it! There may be letters and documents that have your name, maybe even your address on it. Any stranger finding your memory stick would mostly likely be able to link those photos straight back to you.

The argument for keeping photos on a memory stick is that "I share this computer with the family" and "I don't want my photos out there on the internet".

Well, a computer has a lot more storage space than a memory stick, and there are hundreds of thousands of files on there. Who goes looking through all of them? It would be much easier to hide photos on a PC or laptop and there are good ways of doing this. But I'm not going to go into it because the internet is actually a much better options.

The internet is almost infinite. It's huge! The perfect place to hide stuff. But the only way stuff can be found is through links. There are people out there paying fortunes to web companies to help them get their web pages found because it's not actually that easy! And this is 'words' we are talking about, search engines are designed to find and display web pages with words on. But as yet, photos are something search engines aren't much good at.

There are websites like Flicker which are designed to help you share photos with people you want to share them with, and hide them from people you don't want to share them with. If you tick the right boxes you can block search engines and the general public from seeing your photos, only those who you have specifically invited to see them will be able to see them.

But even if you make a mistake, click the wrong box, accidently show your photos to the world... so what? there must be a million porn pictures on Flickr alone. Yours will just be an needle in a haystack. And there must be a billion porn pictures on the internet... and lets not kid ourselves, none of us are that special that we are likely to stand out within those numbers.

And if you take extra precautions... and already mentioned, don't show your face. Or if you want to show your face, keep face and body photos in two different locations.

Set up your account using a virgin gmail account with a phony name. Have it completely unconnected to your real name and even you SL screen name. Never label any of the photos on your account, that way if they are ever accidently found by a search engine, there is nothing to tell the search spider what they are. Never use the account for anything else other than your naughty photos, and never link to any of the photos on the account.

From this point on, you just have to be careful who you share the photos with. This is where I kind of have something worked out, I am pretty confident in my security, as I said at the beginning, I can show photos in-world and then say, "how can you hurt me with this? You can't". So I am willing to take the first step and show mine first. From here on it's a case of 'you show me yours and I'll show you mine'. It becomes reciprocal (which is pretty much the point anyway, to share something intimate), so whatever they have on me, I also have on them. Whatever anybody might do with my photos, I can do the same to them.