Some of you know that I spent 6 months in Brazil a few years ago. In order to keep in touch with my Brazilian friends they asked me to sign up for Orkut
, which is Google's version of Facebook
. Orkut seems to be primarily used by Brazilians and most of the profiles are in Portuguese (which I learned while in Brazil).
Up until now I've only been using Orkut to view my Brazilian friend's new pics and to get updates on the church I worked with while in Brazil. Today I decided to look around Orkut. So I started by viewing various friend's profiles, and then looking through some of THEIR friend's profiles, and so on, and so on. Unlike Facebook you can view people's profiles on Orkut even if you're not someone's "friend".
While looking through a bunch of profiles I discovered a profile pic I recognized - a picture of my Flickr
friend's young boy from North Carolina! (Who knew he was on Orkut?!)
So I clicked on the pic to view the profile and what I discovered made me sick to my stomach.
Let me backtrack. The same Flickr friend USED to post pictures of his two boys on Flickr - publicly. Just general pics of his kids. Hanging out at home, on school trips, at birthday parties. I remember emailing him about all the pics he was posting because I started to notice that he was getting a lot of "views". And I mean a LOT
of views! In the email I encouraged him to be careful posting his kid's pictures publicly because there are a lot of strange people out there in Internet Land
. He replied and thanked me for my concern but felt everything would be fine.
About six months later I noticed that all of his kid's pictures had been removed from his Flickr account. Apparently he discovered that people were stealing the pictures of his boys (which anyone can do by simply right clicking on the picture and "saving image as")
and were posting them on very terrible websites.
So you could imagine the horror when I discovered that someone was doing the very same thing with his picture on Orkut!
I emailed my Flickr friend today to make him aware of this situation and sent him additional information on how to report abuse on Orkut. I also translated the profile description for him (from Portuguese to English)
, but WON'T
do so here due to the sickening details.
Two weeks ago I found that someone had been linking a few of MY
Flickr pics to inappropriate sites as well. I posted two beautiful baptism pictures that I took while in Brazil. The pictures included the pastor's wife, a small group leader and two young women that were being baptized - all wearing regular clothes standing in a swimming pool. I discovered that a website (for people that like to look at pictures of women in wet clothes)
was providing the links to these two pictures!
And just yesterday I encouraged a friend to check the stats on HER
Flickr pics, just in case someone was linking to her pictures. Yup. A parenting magazine posted a picture of her friend's son that she took on their site. Nothing sick or inappropriate, but stolen (without permission)
To this day I will not post people's pictures on Flickr publicly without their consent because of problems like this. In fact, if I don't know you personally (face to face friend or family)
you cannot view my people pics on Flickr. Okay, there are a few generic people pics on my Flickr page mostly of people I DON'T
know personally (taken at a public event, etc.)
but generally speaking you won't see people pics on my Flickr page.
So, why am I writing about this? Because the world is a very different place these days. We hear the warnings about the dangers of the Internet all the time, but do we actually heed them? You know what? We probably should.
And for goodness sake, don't post kid's pictures online (publicly)