Photoprivy Blog · News · Privacy

Keeping our son's online presence private! Why I started Photoprivy.

My wife and I were concerned about our son's online privacy and safety. However, we wanted a place where we could share with friends and family that don't live close to us, especially our parents and have the confidence our son's data is private and not sold.

James Fawks

After our son was born, my wife and I had a conversation that many new parents have today. Do we want to post our son's photos on social media so we can share them with friends and family? With careful consideration, we decided that it would not be in his best interest to do so. Even though his grandparents live far away, and we wanted them to be apart of his life, we did not want to trade his safety and privacy for the ease of sharing. We also did not think it would be fair to our son to have an online presence before he even understood what that meant.

So what can we do? What are our options?

My wife tasked me to find an alternative, a one that allows us to privately and securely share our son's photo album and will enable us to collaborate on that album as well. My checklist was as follows:

  1. Is the photo album private and secure?
  2. How does the company make money?
  3. Does the company sell information to advertisers?
  4. Does the company give access to my data to third parties?
  5. Does the company have a sustainable business model?
  6. Does the company value my privacy?
  7. Can I invite people to follow the photo album?
  8. Can my wife and I collaborate in the photo album?
  9. Does the site allow others to comment on photos giving it a social aspect?

With my checklist in hand, I searched for alternatives, everything from well-known sites to the lesser-known sites. I signed up, tested with some stock photos, and dissecting the Terms of Service and Privacy policies. While some sites got close to checking off the list, I couldn't find a website that gave me the confidence to post my son's photos on and share them with our friends and family.

The main issues I found were that:

  1. photo album websites owned by a parent company did not have a different Terms of Service for the photo album website. Instead, the photo album website is apart of an all-encompassing Terms of Service where the parent company states they collect personal information and sell that information or give access to that information to third parties.
  2. the company owns the rights to the photos and can use them in any way they want, including for marketing.
  3. the Terms of Services are cryptic, and the company was not transparent in their business model, raising questions on if they would change their policy and start selling the data they collected.
  4. security holes introduced when sharing photos or photo albums that created public URLs that anyone could share or give anyone access to the photo or photo album.
  5. the user interface was too complicated, not intuitive, or lacking a social aspect to it.
  6. photo albums are limited to just to a family setting.

With the lack of options out there, I decided that an alternative should be in the market. One that does not sell your data and has a transparent business model. It is open to the data they collect and how they use it. It does not just focus on family or children and allows you to create whatever album you choose.

This website is the first iteration of the idea of having a private and secure platform where you can share your photos with only the individuals you want to. Not to third parties or advertisers that you did not give direct permission to view your photos. I don't want my son's photo albums to be treated differently than yours or your children; your children are just as special to you as my son is to me. So no matter how much money it could make, if I don't want my son's photos being a part of it, then I will not use your children's pictures in his place.

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