PicFog is a real-time Twitter image search engine that’s been around for some time, persistently adding new features, such as the support for Twitter image sharing services Twitpic, Twitgoo and Yfrog.
This all sounds great, but what what about privacy concerns? Doesn’t anyone care anymore? Or is it that they are, simply, clueless!
Recently, an article in the Dutch de Volkskrant newspaper discussed the new PicFog web application: Picfog brings order to photograph fog on Twitter (translated from Dutch).
PicFog and Privacy Issues:
Basically, what the article talks about is the following: With a reported 300,000 new users every single day, only Twitter knows how many pictures have been added to its user accounts. But if users have not blocked their user account from third party peeks, their pictures may now be seen, by the entire world, through a simple search on PicFog!
PicFog was developed by a Hungarian, J.T. Toth. Using the open structure of Twitter, all pictures that have been placed on Twitter profiles that have not been blocked from third-party viewing are automatically relayed to PicFog, including the text that accompanies the picture.
PicFog subsequently reads the GPS information and the IP addresses and can therefore geographically cluster those pictures with reasonable accuracy.
Go to PicFog’s website, type in the name of a country or a city, choose a radius, and you will, depending on the chosen location, find dozens of thumbnails, that shift – in real time - as new photos are added. Don’t expect art. But you will get an insight into what ordinary people take pictures of and share with their friends and family and, thanks to PicFog, the rest of the world for that matter.
Finally, and at a time when Time Magazine’s May 31 cover headlines about “Facebook …. and How it’s Redefining Your Privacy”, it makes you wonder if Twitter users realize how public their pictures really are.
What do you think: Have you ever used PicFog? And did you ever consider third party peeks while uploading your photos to twitter-based applications?
Looking forward to your feedback down below…