Privacy presentation

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  • Hi everyone, today we’re going to look at the Privacy policies of Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest.
  • This is the outline for todays presentation. I will briefly summarize the privacy policies of Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest and then afterwards compare and contrast the policies and provide some observations.
  • In alphabetical order, the first photo sharing service is Flickr, which is an online photo management tool that allows users to share photos, maintain a photo blog, and store up to a terabyte of data for free.
     
    In 2010, it was estimated that over 3,000 images were uploaded every minute.
    Flickr’s privacy policy is not lengthy or filled with legal jargon, which enables user to clearly understand how their information will be used. As we can see, the policy stipulates various protective measures, specifically, the policy highlights how users can choose to make their photos 1. default to public for anyone to access; 2. restrict access to a limited number of other Flickr users 3. or keep those photos private so only you can access them.
    Also, the policy gives users the ability to control their location information and file format metadata.
  • The next service is Instagram, which is a social networking service that enables photo sharing, photo editing, and video sharing.
     
    Instagram is a fairly new company – it was created in 2010, and was recently acquired by Facebook in 2012 but retained its privacy policies.
     
    As we can see Instagram’s privacy policy covers much of the same policy architecture as Flickr. However, the policy is far more exhaustive and cumbersome to read. I found it more difficult to pull out what is more important and what isn’t.
    On that note, I found it important to remember that Instagram is a public service where users can choose to follow other users, which allows others to see their photos. I quoted the privacy policy to demonstrate that Instagram is upfront about their platform being public. As it states “… if you're "public" on Instagram, anyone can subscribe to follow your photos. We do, however, have a special private option. In this mode, a user can make sure he/she must approve all “follow” requests before they go through”.
    Unfortunately, Instagram offers no ability to change or customize certain privacy preferences for certain people, its all or nothing.
  • The last social networking service that I will examine is Pinterest, which was created in 2005. Pinterest is a pin-board photo sharing and book marking website that allows users to share and save content with others. If you haven’t already checked out Pinterest - I would describe it as an online corkboard, complete with sticky notes.
    The privacy policies were fairly short in comparison to the other two policies but follows much of the same architecture.
    The 3rd bullet “ What choices users have about their information” is interesting because within it, it highlights the “Do not Track” browser setting. This feature will be further explained in a few slides.
  • Now that we have a taste of what the policies cover, we will now look at the similarities.
    Despite the number of social networking services options available, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest have remarkably similar policies. As we have seen, the privacy policies use a simple architecture, such as bullets points and headers, to ensure a more user-friendly policy that is clearly understood by the average jo.
    All three privacy policies collect initial sign up information, such as name, email, phone number and will use this information to further contact users with new Terms of Service, Updates and any changes.
     
    The last bullet point on the slide is interesting because the policies don’t really go into detail. But from what I understand, by accepting the privacy policies users accept that third party applications will have access to their information. Third party applications enable analytics, which permits scanning user information, and retaining any cookies and archives for further research. The further research statement is ambiguous because it doesn’t explain what sort of research – I can only hope that it’s for enhancing user experience and convenience.
  • Next we will look at the differences.
    1. Flickr allows users to change their privacy settings for each photo, unlike Instagram and Pinterest, which do not allow any customized privacy settings on photos once they are uploaded on their platforms.
     
    2. Flickr collects timestamps as Exchangeable Image File format metadata, combined with GPS data. This aspect is unique to Flickr and could have some significant implications for an individual’s privacy because it collections a lot of information about the what camera was used, the file format etc.
     
    3. All photos hosted on Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest are public to those who you “follow” unless you change the privacy setting which is available for Flickr. Unfortunately, Instagram users have to choose between their privacy and the service because once the image is posted it is public to all followers and no changes can be made. Instagrams offers the unique ability to make edits and add cool filters on the image, such as antique look, which is a useful tool but once you upload the photo it is completely public to those that follow you. Another difference worth noting regarding “the follow option” where Instagram allows users to describe their photos using hashtags. Although, this “tagging” feature is not unique to Instagram, it only appears in Instagram’s policies. Flickr and Pinterest have similar features to add descriptions to photos but the policies are not clear whether they mine the metadata to enhance user experience or for other purposes.
     
    4. Lastly, Pinterest is among a number of companies that give users the option of not being tracked. Many companies track users’ habits with the hopes of offering more intrusive advertising.
    In 2007, several consumer advocacy groups asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create a Do Not Track list. The proposal would have required that online advertisers submit their information to the Federal Trade Commission, which would compile a machine-readable list of the domain names used by those companies to place cookies or otherwise track consumers.
    For example, if you visit a cooking Web site that displays the Pinterest Pin, and then go to Pinterest’s Web site, you will see recommendations for cooking-related pinboards.
  • 1. I found that even if users remove personal information; for example, delete their account – the social networking service “may” retain copies of your information in their cached or archived pages, which are accessible to third party applications. For example, Instagram policy states “ Following termination or deactivation of your account, Instagram, its Affiliates, or its Service Providers may retain information (including your profile information) and User Content for a commercially reasonable time for backup, archival, and/or audit purposes.”
    2. Secondly, companies strive to protect users’ personal information, as we’ve seen in their extensive privacy policies; however, there is inherent tension that exists between on the one hand protecting user’s personal information and the need that social networking sites have to disclose their personal information in order to fulfill their mandate to help with the social networking function they are performing for their users.
    3. Instagram and Pinterest have very similar “follow models” where once you follow someone they have access to your photos. However, Pinterest does have an option to have 3 secret boards. Flickr is different because it has the ability to customize your privacy preferences. You can control what you share with those that “follow” you by changing the settings on each photo or changing the setting on an album or group.
    4. All three social networking services offer the ability to block someone from following you but they’re all sort of different...
    Flickr: People you block can't interact with you or your photos. In practice this means they can't comment on your photos, add your photos as favorites, can’t add metadata to your photos and can’t send you Flickrmail. People aren’t notified when you block them.
    Instagram:
    When you block someone, that person can’t view your photos/video or search for you Instagram account. People aren’t notified when you block them. But what is different from Flickr, is that all the comments from that person will disappear instantly.
    Pinterest:
    When you block someone on Pinterest, the person cannot follow you or interact with your pins but also, you can’t follow them. All interaction in either direction is denied. However, any previous likes/and or pins between you and the person aren’t automatically removed. You will have to manually unlike pins.
    Also, when you block someone, Pinterest does not notify them. But he/she will be alerted about the block if he/she tried to follow you, interact with you pins or invite you to a group board.
  • I would conclude that Flickr offers the user the greatest ability to control their privacy and the ability to customize the privacy on their content.
    I have one questions to ask then you can ask me questions… which photo-sharing service will you use next time you upload photos?
    The “Do Not Track” feature is unique to Pinterest. I could not find a reference to it in either policies but there is a lot of blogs that are devoted to looking the feature.

Transcript

  • 1. Privacy Protection of Social Networking Services An Analysis of the Privacy Policies of Flickr, Instagram, and Pinterest
  • 2. Outline My paper summarized the privacy policies of Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest and afterwards compare the three policies to illustrate the similarities and differences. Flickr Instagram Pinterest Similarities Differences Observations Questions
  • 3. Flickr Flickr is an online photo management tool that allows users to share photos, maintain a photo blog, and store up to a terabyte of data for free. The policy stipulates: • What information is collected; • How Flickr discloses users’ information; • How Flickr manages user photo metadata and geolocation data. • Specific policies towards accessing users’ Cookies • The ability to customize preferences and delete information; and • Flickr’s confidentiality and security measures.
  • 4. Instagram  Instagram is a social networking service that enables photo sharing, photo editing, and video sharing.  The Privacy Policy covers:  What information is collected;  How the information is used;  How user’s information is stored;  How long Instagram keeps user’s content;  Children privacy;  Instagram’s responsibility for the practices of third party affiliates.  Instagram’s privacy policy is: “… if you're "public" on Instagram, anyone can subscribe to follow your photos. We do, however, have a special private option. In this mode, a user can make sure he/she must approve all “follow” requests before they go through”.
  • 5. Pinterest Pinterest is a pin-board photo sharing and image book marking website that allows users create “boards” to help organize images. The privacy policy outlines: What information is collected; How the information is used; What choices users have about their information; How the information is shared; Children privacy; and How they can change their policies
  • 6. Similarities  The privacy policies use a simple social networking architecture, such as bullets points and headers, to ensure a more user-friendly policy that is clearly understood.  All three privacy policies collect initial sign up information, such as name, email, phone number and will use this information to further contact users with new Terms of Service, Updates and any changes  By accepting the privacy policies users accept that third party applications will have access to users’ information. Third party applications enable third party analytics, which permits scanning user information, and retaining any cookies and archives for further research on user trends.
  • 7. Differences  Flickr allows users to change their privacy settings for each photo, unlike Instagram and Pinterest, which do not allow any customized privacy settings on photos once they are uploaded on their platforms.  Flickr timestamps each photos with the specific metadata regarding the file format, combined with GPS data.  The “follow” options – All photos hosted on Instagram and Pinterest are public to those who you “follow”.  Pinterest is among a number of companies that give users the option of not being tracked. Many companies track users’ habits with the hopes of offering more intrusive advertising.
  • 8. Observations What happens when you choose to delete your account? Companies juggle protecting users’ personal information and the need disclose that information in order to provide better services.   There are similarities and differences between the “follow” models in these three photo sites. What happens or doesn’t happen when users are “blocked” from following?
  • 9. Conclusion and Questions Which photo-sharing service will you use next time you upload photos? Q&A’s?
  • 10. References Flickr. (2013). Help/FAQ/Photos. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/   Flickr. (2013). Welcome to Flickr. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/   Fuchs, C. (2011). Towards an Alternative Concept of Privacy. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society, 9(4), 220- 237. doi: http://dx.doi.org.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/10.1108/14779961111191039   Houghton, D. & Joinson, A. (2010). Privacy, Social Network Sites, and Social Relations, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 28:1-2, 74-94, DOI: 10.1080/15228831003770775   Instagram. (2013). FAQ. Retrieved from http://instagram.com/about/faq/   Instagram. (2013). Privacy Policy. Retrieved from http://instagram.com/about/legal/privacy/   Pinterest. (2013). Privacy Policy. Retrieved from http://about.pinterest.com/privacy/   Pinterest. (2013). Terms of Service. Retrieved from http://about.pinterest.com/terms/   Pinterest. (2013). What is Pinterest? Retrieved from http://about.pinterest.com/index.html   Sanvenero, R. (2013). Social Media and Our Misconceptions of the Realities. Information & Communications Technology Law, 22(2), 89-108. doi: 10.1080/13600834.2013.805923   Squicciarini, A., Shehab, M., & Wede, J. (2010). Privacy Policies for Shared Content in Social Network Sites. The VLDB Journal, 19(6), 777-796. doi: 10.1007/s00778-010-0193-7   Trosow, S. et. al. (2010). Mobilizing User Generated Content for Canada’s Digital Advantage‐ . Produced for SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grants on the Digital Economy. <http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/fimspub/21/>   Yahoo! Inc. (2013). Yahoo! Privacy Centre. Retrieved from http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/ca/yahoo/   Yahoo! Inc. (2013). Flickr. Retrieved from http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/us/yahoo/flickr/