Oh flickr please…

After a lovely few days away in North Yorkshire I went back to my flickr account to upload the latest few photos. To my horror, yet more *sick* people had faved photos of my children, completely innocuous photos (to me), but not apparently to some.

When I checked on the (open) accounts of the people (unknown to me) choosing images of my children to take as their own favorites, I found page upon page of similar images – innocence suddenly turned into something ghoulish.

There has been a slow increase in the number of images being identified and ‘faved’, I am not so creeped out by the ones of my friends and family looking buxom (although it is a bit weird) – but when it is kids, in this instance my own – it causes a fury in me.

Now I suspect that I will be berated for innocently uploading all photos to flickr – ditching the dodgy camera angles and any photo of me with a double chin – but basically uploading the lot; with a sort of innocent mind (double chin being the main cause for pressing delete or private, but of course obviously *potentially dodgy* ones of the children too) – now I feel foolish and as if I have wantonly put up my own children for public consumption <- appreciate that I have. But not intentionally – but how can I be so stupid?

Two things

Two things bother me about this:

1. Why the hell is there not a report button on flickr that can alert someone… (er CEOP?) to those flickr accounts faving images of children, brazenly!

2. My stance on open data in government – I continue to wholeheartedly support this, but my disgust at the use of my own data by people I don’t know, for purposes I don’t endorse, leads me to hesitate… not sure why yet, I need to think about this…

Way more important than what I might think about cataloguing and freeing up data, is question 1. How can people who view images of children as sexually satisfying, even if it is simply a photo of them standing; openly identify, own and then re-use them without any fear of reprise?

I can hear the court defence argument now: there is no proof that this person – who collected a flickr album of pre-teens – was using the images for anything illicit…

It makes me very angry and it also makes me hesitate – again – in the work I do…

If paedophiles can operate so openly because of the transparency of the web, yet be protected by a variety of laws – how can we seriously blinker ourselves to the possibility that this might not stop at the crime of paedophilia?

I am so torn because I fundamentally believe in truth, and that spin should have no place in the protection of society – hence my passion for open data in government (not just politics). But if we open up our own personal data voluntarily – and then immediately become victims of our own mortal/personal enemies (i.e. those predators who hunt our families/children) – then how can I willingly endorse and attempt to enforce the opening of our country’s information?

I could lose, in both situations – catastrophically.

Before I go any further in my open support for freeing up data, I think that I am going to have to put my parental head on, and have a really good think about what practically we could do to apply intelligence to the data we make available (in all formats :)).

In the mean time, Steph Gray has a good post on the open data conversation, I am going to go and calm down (and work through years of flickr photos – making every photo of mine or anyone else’s children private).

I will come back to this in a few days.