Flickr privacy glitch 17:32 on Saturday

It looks like there’s a small privacy glitch with uploading images to Flickr.

I use FlickrExport for iPhoto to upload my photos to Flickr, and no matter what privacy level I set in the uploader tool, the names and tags of the images might get indexed in search engines. It looks like the images are public until you click through the upload confirmation page — the one where you can add tags, modify names and write descriptions for the photos.

So if you really want to keep a photo private, I suggest you upload it with a generic name, no tags or description, quickly click through the confirmation, and only then add all the meta information to the photo.

I understand this problem is not new to the Flickr user community, the glitch just isn’t well documented so I wanted to highlight it.

How I found out about this glitch?

I uploaded pictures from our trip to Istanbul, and the batch included a private pic with two friends in it, tagged with their full names. The next day they started asking me how is it possible this picture comes up when you search for their name in Spock, a service not one of them had registered for! (More on Spock)

Interesting times, these.

3 Responses to “Flickr privacy glitch”


  1. hlehto Says:

    I noticed that there is something weird, likely in the new version OS X Flickr Uploadr. The pictures I have uploaded with them do not show up in public queries, even though I would like them to be available.

    For example, compare http://flickr.com/photos/hlehto/tags/hysse/ and http://flickr.com/photos/hlehto/tags/hysse/ – my new pictures are invisible in the generic search and visible in my personal search.

    I wrote to Flickr support, but have not yet got an answer.

  2. Susi Says:

    Hey, there is a new web 2.0 service to counter the trend of overly public photo and video sharing. 2Pad was developed by 3 French entrepreneurs as the only private photo and sharing service. Using the latest in web technology, such as Ajax, 2Pad allows you to privately share your media from your personal gallery. Simply start by sending your media via email to 2pad@2pad.com and 2Pad automatically creates your personal gallery. We would love you to test it out and send us feedback! We’re always looking to improve our product for the masses! Thanks!! Susi and the 2Pad Team.

  3. hlehto Says:

    I found the reason for my problem. It was a bug in the new Flickr Uploadr.

    If you open files with Open With Flickr Uploadr from the context menu, the 3.0 version seems to act more or less randomly. For example, for some pictures (the pictures that I mentioned in my post) it enabled “hide from public searches” flag, and usually also disables the “upload pictures” button until you try to add more pictures to the batch.