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July 23, 2019

Privacy Tip of the Week: Keep Personal Photos Private

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Thirty years ago, the idea of always having a camera in our pockets was unthinkable. But today, we’re living in the age of the selfie. There are more than 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide, or one out of every three people. For every square mile of habitable land on earth, there’s approximately 110 smartphones in the area, and that number doesn’t factor in other camera-enabled devices like tablets and computers.

We celebrate National Selfie Day every year and use our cameras to stay connected with the world at large while taking snapshots of precious memories so we have them forever. However, this normalization of camera use also poses its own risk. By snapping a picture of anything and everything, we don’t stop to think about whether or not we should take that picture. The news cycle is regularly filled with stories about compromising, personal photos being leaked to the public without consent. So how do you keep personal photos private in this digital age?

  • Don’t take personal pictures
  • Delete photos when you’re done with them
  • Password protect your devices
  • Don’t store images on the cloud
  • Use a secure picture exchange

Don’t Take Personal Pictures

The easiest way to make sure your private photos stay private is to just not take any in the first place. If you’re about to take a picture of something that you would wouldn’t want your family, your boss, the Queen of England, or the whole world to see, take your finger off the button and don’t snap that shot. This includes compromising photos of yourself that may be used for intimate purposes, vital information like banking info, and anything else that you feel is best kept just to yourself. It’s easy to keep personal photos private when you just don’t have any.

Delete Photos When You’re Done With Them

Alright, maybe you’re not a robot and occasionally want to (or need to) take a photo that could be considered compromising or embarrassing if shown to the wrong person. The best safety solution is deleting that image from your device as soon as you no longer need it.

Password Protect Your Devices to Keep Personal Photos Private

Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop are all personal and private devices. What you do with them is your business and should remain that way. One of the surest ways to keep your devices safe is to password protect them. This stops other people from snooping through your information, including your camera roll.

Don’t Store Images on the Cloud

Cloud services are an excellent storage solution. You can save documents and pictures online to free up space on one device and access those same items on any other device. However, sometimes cloud services become compromised by hackers which means the items you save there can be as well. Instead, keep your photos on your own devices and if you need to store them elsewhere, consider external, offline hard drives (like USBs) that can’t be hacked.

Use a Secure Picture Exchange

We know, we know. You’re still going to take and send pictures that would disappoint your grandmother. Stay safe while doing so by using a secure picture exchange with automatic photo destruct, instead of sending images through text or Snapchat. Good apps to try include Wickr and Telegram.

With modern technology, it’s simple to indulge in our camera use and keep personal photos private too. Keep your online activities even more private with a good VPN service.

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