There’s nothing much worse than having your privacy violated and feeling as if there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a horrible, helpless feeling that we are experiencing more and more in this country as big government continually figures out new ways to spend incredible amounts of time and money snooping on and monitoring the behavior of law-abiding citizens.
And that’s why I was pretty excited about a recent news story involving popular photo-sharing application Instagram. If you’re not familiar with them, perhaps your kids are. The company, which was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in April 2012, made news recently by announcing proposed changes in its terms of service (TOS), leading users to believe that photos they posted to the Instagram site could be used by advertisers without their permission.
The exact wording of the proposed TOS changes included, “To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”
Following an immediate public outcry, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom backpedaled, writing in a blog post that, “Instagram never had any intention of selling users’ photos.” No, of course not. How could Instagram users possibly have gotten that idea?!?!
A company reversing its stance to save face is nothing new. What I like about this story is that people stood up for their privacy rights and won the battle. Had they remained silent, they would have lost. It’s an important lesson to all of us that we shouldn’t let our privacy rights be taken away without a fight.
I’d be interested in hearing what you think about this news story in particular and what we should do to about current and future privacy rights violations in general. Thanks in advance for responding.
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