Instagram privacy woes – massive u-turn?

Instagram privacy woes – massive u-turn?

Henry Dalziel | Latest InfoSec News | January 20, 2013

Probably old news (by a week or so) but we want to resurrect it because of a question we had during one of our Hacker Hotshot events.

What are we referring to? – well it seems that Instagram has decided to drop its changed policies after a massive user backlash. The jury is out as to whether (apparently) 50% of the user base really did leave the service – but anyways – we are certain that a bunch definitely did. So what caused this backtrack? Well in our opinion trying to sneak the changes to the terms and conditions just before the holiday season smells a bit – it’s just a bit sly. But more importantly – a lot people evidently felt that it was a breach of their privacy which is kinda always a big deal.

Siobhan MacDermott, Chief Policy Officer of AVG Technologies, presented an excellent Hacker Hotshot web show on Wednesday titled: “Wide Open Privacy” and she answered a question with regards to Instagram and privacy. The question was: “With Instagrams decision to sell private images, is this a precedent for the future or a bad move that will probably not be repeated?

Her reply was that there will likely be some sort of regulation in the future to the commercialization of your “private” stuff – and she continued by saying that the Instagram privacy issue does set a precedent.

Because Facebook bought Instagram for a rather large amount of cash the social network giant is obviously keen to monetize the popular photo-sharing service. One large problem Facebook has is that increasingly everything they are involved with is going mobile – in other words more people than ever are using mobile to access Facebook and send images through Instagram etc. Trying to advertise on mobile is very difficult. But hey, who are we to say? I am sure that the smart folks at Facebook will work out a way to cleverly monetize Instagram and good luck to them! We just brought up the subject because of a question asked by a member of our community.

What do you think about the Instagram privacy issue – is this just going to be become the norm – i.e. companies sucking you into their services for free then basically selling your stuff?

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