This Company Is Selling Photos Of Your Kids To Teach You A Lesson About Internet Security

mom-daughter-selfieThere are varying levels of paranoia when it comes to sharing photos of kids online. You may have the privacy settings on your social media platforms locked down, but once you start sharing photos and connecting with others and allowing them to share photos — it’s impossible to believe anything you post online can ever be completely secure.

Enter Koppie Koppie – an online store selling pictures of the children of unsuspecting parents who have made their photos a part of the public domain. Here’s the message you’re met with when you visit their site:

If you’ve ever put pictures of your children online, there’s a chance that we’re selling them here on one of our coffee mugs. Just scroll down to see if your kids are in our collection…

The pair behind the site — a journalist and a designer — say it’s not a money making venture, it’s a social experiment. That’s pretty easy to believe actually, because who wants a photo of someone else’s kid on a mug? They are trying to make a point about internet security, and will oblige any parent who requests their image be removed.

That doesn’t make it any less disturbing, though. When you visit the site you’re met with an inventory of mugs with personal snapshots on them. Not only are these photos of other people’s children, but the name of the person who took the photo is listed under the mug itself, next to the price. The duo sourced the photos from Flikr’s “Creative Commons” collection; if Flickr users opt to allow it, their photos can be used freely for commercial use.

Which brings us to the question of “why” would someone opt to put photos of their child on a site and freely allow those photos to be used commercially without the need for notification or compensation? It seems like an odd choice, but is it really any different than posting a video of your child to YouTube? No, it’s not.

I doubt parents would react positively to seeing an image of their child on a mug, for sale on the internet. Or for that matter, to seeing an image of their child being used to make a point about internet security. However disconcerting the site’s message is — it does make a valid point:

share your unprotected images freely on the internet and anyone can swipe them for their own use.

(photo: Getty Images)

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