Instagram’s new terms go into effect January 16th. The bottom line? Instagram can use your photos, your username and the metadata associated with your photos without paying you a dime.
Meta-what? It’s not a geek term to be shooed away. Metadata is important. Because it’s information about you. It’s data about your data: when and where the photos on your phone were taken. You don’t need a degree in photography to realize how access to this information can be abused.
Most recently it was used to track down John McAfee in Guatemala:
“This is a tracking device, there’s no question about it, and we’re all carrying one now,” says former senior counsel at the National Security Agency, Joel Brenner.
Our personal information including our metadata is currency. When we no longer own our own currency, we’re the ones who are owned [click to tweet this!]
Image credit: slashgear.com
This isn’t skim-worthy stuff. Because it can determine the fate of the human race.
Maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But maybe not.
Our fate is determined by our reactions. Companies like Instagram are testing the waters. They’re watching (literally and figuratively) to see how far they can pull the sheets over our eyes before we suffocate. Before we realize that our data no longer belongs to us.
Most people don’t take the time to read changes in policy or even read the terms of service when they sign up for a site.
The world of data collection is a hidden world that is allowed to run free because the internet is like the wild west. It is time that people wake up and realize you don’t sign a contract without reading it. It is time people start demanding ownership of their personal data and rights to sue if companies misuse their data. It is time to put limits on sites from scanning your data. If you don’t demand privacy they will take it from you and leave you with no rights at all. This is a very scary trend and it is already happening.
The fuzzy language in the terms doesn’t help. Especially if a blog post is necessary to explain the terms. Why not incorporate the same explanation into the actual terms of service? Because it’s a deflection. And it’s a sign of what’s to come for our future if we don’t react.
The solution is not to move pictures over to Google + or Flickr. Because this is a privacy issue. Not just an Instagram problem.
We need a collective effort to change privacy laws. We did this to end the SOPA shenanigans. And we need to take back our privacy. Who is with me?
What do you think? Please comment below.