Photos are data too 

On-line photo printers and your Privacy

Who's looking at you, kid?

Who's looking at you, kid?

  • Mine, mine, mine

    Here's a scenario, I'd like to run by you.

    Imagine, I'm one of those thrusting young, marketing types; suit by Principles, principles by whatever suits.

    One day, I'm sitting in "BarStucks", the Evil Coffee Shop, idly twitching from all the latte I've consumed to combat last night's hang-over and fiddling with my i-Phone 5s, desperate for someone else to notice that it's the one with the built-in fingerprint scanner and thereby validate my entire existence, when


    I have a flash of inspiration.

    Now, I've learned all about data mining and, of course, my mantra is "get their data", so I spend a lot of time thinking about how, exactly, I can take details about your life, the things you buy, the times and places you buy them at and cross reference them with other things I know or believe about you based on your "profile" and cross reference with the data from any other organisation in the world who is willing to share/sell me what they know about you... which includes just about every other big company in the developed world.

    I know:

    • what you earn (credit card apps)
    • how fat you are (clothes size)
    • who your friends are (social networking)
    • which books you've read (retail records)
    • all the important stuff about your medical history (life insurance) and
    • even, ladies, when your period starts (retail records)

    In fact, lets face it, the list is endless.

    I know EVERYTHING about you.

    It's called your data shadow. You've given it to me, for free and probably without realising it. I am smug.

  • Long dark shadows

    However, it occurs to me one of the things that's relatively hard to extrapolate from pure data is what your kids may do in the future. This is because, kids, being kids, don't really generate a detailed data shadow. But, I want to know this too. Desperately.

    Lightning strikes, the flash is blinding... what if I have access to all your family photos, too? What if, I started or had access to the data held by on-line photo sharing web sites... all it would take is a couple of lines in the Terms and Conditions for you to give me that data too... and no-one would care, no-one reads those things anyway.

    If I did, I'd know:

    • when you have a baby (new baby pics)... (Time to get those nappy coupons in with the rewards card mailshot)
    • not only where you go on holiday and what you spent your money on... but whether your kids enjoyed it (smiling/not smiling) (Look, they hated Scotland, send them brochures for the Med... when its cold and wet in November).

    and, crucially, whether your kids:

    • wear branded clothing... (So, that's which tribe they belong to...)
    • wear makeup... (Ramp up the celebrity perfume marketing...)
    • will need braces... (Tell the Dentist, and schedule the "have you thought about plastic surgery?" promos for their 14th birthday.)
    • have a mobile... (Ker-ching, we've hit the jackpot. Geo-tracking, here we come.)

    because I could see it ALL for myself.

  • Back in the real world

    Returning to the real world. The one we live in. The one where thrusting young, marketing types with principles by whatever suits, had these ideas a decade ago.

    And, suddenly, those few free 6x4 prints, don't seem so cheap, do they?

    If only there was some way, I could be sure that my photos would stay private. If only I could keep them safe myself and get them printed by someone I could trust...

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