|Published:||Oct 15, 2012 5:32 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 15, 2012 6:47 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Call for Action alert about who is seeing your photos on social media. Turns out, your photos might be in places other than online.
With sites like Facebook and Twitter, the more you upload, the greater the risk becomes of someone else getting your photos and putting them in places you may not approve of.
People upload photos every day to Facebook and Twitter through their cell phone or on their computer. But that can put you at a very high risk for becoming a victim of digital shoplifting.
Like most of us, Jay Breen posts snapshots of his life on Facebook.
"If I'm doing something interesting or fun like traveling traveling to other countries or you know to an island," said Breen.
But when a friend mentioned seeing those photos on a risque dating website, Breen didn't understand how.
"Up comes pictures of myself three pictures that I posted on Facebook when I first signed up a while ago. This particular web site is something I didn't want to be associated with," said Breen.
Breen is a victim of a growing trend called digital shoplifting. Experts warn that even the savviest internet users are seeing their pictures and other person media, stolen. Those photos could pop up anywhere around the world. In political attack ads, online scams and even on foreign billboards.
So what can you do if someone steals your image? First, contact the website and threaten legal action. That's what Breen did.
"And said this is becoming more serious please remove it in capital letters before I get you know someone involved an attorney involved," said Breen.
You could send a cease and desist letter citing violations of US Copyright Act. A simpler option would be to take preventative steps like putting a visible watermark over your photos and video.
"It's typically just a logo or a copyright image that's an overlay on top of your image," said Ben Bounketh, with DigiMarc.
Or you can turn to a growing number of companies that offer software to give your pictures and video a unique fingerprint that can't been seen by the naked eye. But you can track them.
"We have a search service that's actually crawling the Internet the customer can then log in and view a report of where all of their images have been located," said Bounketh.
Breen's threats to hire an attorney worked but he has a warning the next time you post a picture.
"Think before you do it because you never know where the pictures will end up," said Breen.
There is one more thing you can do to protect yourself from digital shoplifting. Change your privacy settings to be sure that only friends and family can see your pictures and video.