Danger in posting family pics?

6 05 2008

Faceless children

How much of a danger is there in posting family pictures and disclosing family names to a blog or to other sites on the Internet?  On one hand, the Internet is a great place to share pictures with people that you know.  It’s also a great way for people who don’t know you to get to know you better.  On the other hand, there could be a danger if some wacko collects enough information about you and your family to do harm.

I really really want to be able to use names and faces of my family in this blog.  But, I am really really scared to do so.  What does everyone out there think?  I am interested to hear your comments.  Just don’t mention any names :).

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10 responses

6 05 2008
Marie

I got mobbed on my blog by a group of people with whom I was working on a project (so I trusted them). Anyway, things went awrey and now I have ditched my orginial blog.

It was personal, some photos of the kids, yet I was careful not to mention any names of the children (and I live in Germany, so with over 80 million people, there would really need to be loads of info to locate us… still, it is possible).

The people with whom I had a falling out are radical and think it would be best to have our kids removed from our custody (don’t ask, really wacky). The point is this: you really cannot not be too careful. Honestly. You want to share photos with family and people you actually KNOW, then invite them to a “private” blog (wordpress has this option, so does blogspot and the others might well too!), or post them as “private” postings on this blog (which functions the same: all things posted publically will be accessable to everyone, “private” onces are only accessable by those you have listed) or use a password to protect various entries (although this increases curiosity… which may not be what you want).

I will not publish pictures of my kids (definitive, where you could identify them) publicly again.

Thats my two cents. It is something which you would be wise to consider, and reconsider again.

6 05 2008
BuffaloNickel

Thanks, Marie. That is really insightful and a perfect real-world example to justify my fears.
I have thought about using a private blog for this, but not sure how secure it really is. Do you use a private blog to post pics or do you just stay away from it altogether?

6 05 2008
Marie

To be honest, I just shut my blog down today, so it is very fresh.

Basically, if you use an private blog (or anonymous) strictly for photos (even if you use the real first names of the kids), people would have a real trouble finding you.

It is the combination of “typical” blogging (where over time someone can “profile you”) coupled with pics which becomes very problematic.

You will notice, that with this comment, you now have my IP number… you also have an e-mail address… so do an internet check, see if you can use my IP to find me (theoretically, you know that I am in Germany because that is what I told you–it is true, however, I do believe that you cannot locate me by means of my IP alone).

However, be aware that leaving comments on other peoples blogs is leaving information (IPs are only one type of information) which can also contribute to your “profile”. Blogspot is very anonymous, wordpress is more “informative”. However, there are widgets you can add (and other people add to their sites) which track visitors. Sitemeter etc. will give some pretty close details to geography (my sitemeter count will bring you about within 12 km of my home, which is considering the dense population here, still anonymous, however, depending on where you live, what other info you are disclosing… again, goes to the “profile”… you can also collect data on your readers, they do not need to leave a comment to give their IP…)

Basically, my suggestion is to go with a seperate blog and keep it simple (just the kids photos and KNOW who is looking at it). Or post photos on this blog as “private” (that is an option when you want to post your blog–at the right hand side, around the place where you can change the post date etc.), then you will still do well to monitor and know who has access to the private sections. Even then, (as per my experience) you will want to be extremely careful of who has access.

And, you may want to consider that your kids may not want to be published. Perhaps in 10-15 years down the road, they find that a public posting of them as a cute 3 yr. old to be so not-cool… it may turn out to be a question of respecting your children’s privacy.

6 05 2008
BuffaloNickel

Very informative. Thank you very much. I think what scares me the most is not the blog itself or the images, it’s the profiling of information based on my posts and comments and other’s comments to my posts. I think keeping a private blog with tight controls on comments would probably be fairly safe.

6 05 2008
Marie

That is, in my opinion, a safe way to go. Just need to be sure that if you go with two blogs (one extremely private/heavily moderated) put one or two different page counters (like Sitemeter) on it (and keep it active). If you suspect any “hanky panky” then you have a starting point.

And be sure not to link the two (even going from private to public blog)–I am not sure, but it is thinkable, that people connect the two blogs even if you only connect private to public.

Check out Technorati (for example), there you can see who is linking to who (it is automatic, which means you cannot control it! It just happens!).

7 05 2008
BuffaloNickel

Wow, thank you so much for your insight. This is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for when I made this post. I appreciate it very much!

7 05 2008
BuffaloNickel

Marie, do you have a blog you would be willing to link me to?

8 05 2008
Marie

What you thinking of?

I have a blog or two… (or six or seven, laugh… hooked!)

You wanna check out some of that techie stuff?

Ok, I will set a link, you see what you can figure out about me…

And no, it will not be a link from Marie… (another IDENTITY muhahaha)…

8 05 2008
Marie

Oh, just saw your sitemeter… you do have the option of making the access to your stats private (it needs to be active ON YOUR BLOG, yet on the sitemeter page –the dotcom– you can make viewing private, that way, anyone looking for “Marie” on your blog cannot have access to my IP and other identifying info… I, for one, would appreciate you keeping MY information private 😉 !)

(It is simple, since I left a comment which is timestamped and dated on your blog, I need that info, click your sitemeter and then I can find out my stats that they have on me… If I can do that, so can any of your readers, and I do not know it… this is great for lurkers, but one of the first things I check out on “new” blogs, or blogs where I am not sure I want people to “find out who I am on” (so it hinders me wanting to leave any info there in form of comment)… just something to consider!)

8 05 2008
BuffaloNickel

Thank you, excellent tip. I just switched it to “medium” privacy. Let me know if that works.

As for what I had in mind for your blog, it was simply to follow your public blog, if you had one, nothing more.

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