I wrote recently about my pleasant encounter with Shutterfly customer service. That has not changed.

But here's something I'm not too happy about: their new Terms of Service.

I hate reading terms of service, privacy policies, and those scary forms the doctor makes you sign before surgery. I usually pass my eyes over them, but when I sign that I've "read and understood" them, well, let's just say there's more than a little wishful thinking involved. (Especially since parts of the documents are often in a foreign language.) But what can you do? If you don't sign, you don't get your software, or your life-saving operation.

However, ever since PayPal decided that their terms of service should give them the right to steal money from the account of anyone who says something of which they disapprove, I've been more than a little skeptical about what might be hidden in these documents.

Perusing Shutterfly's new Terms, I found the following:

While using any of our Sites and Apps, you agree not to:

  • Upload photographs of people who have not given permission for their photographs to be uploaded to a share site.

Think about it. You want to make a photo book or calendar or collage of your vacation photos? What kind of a story will you be able to tell using just photos of unadorned scenery and close family members? I don't know about you, but nearly everywhere I go total strangers get into most of my tourist photos.

No one, you say, is going to go after you because you printed a collage of your trip to Paris. Least of all Shutterfly, which depends on such photos to stay in business. And that's probably true, for the most part. But the language allows for unreasonable interpretations and actions, and my trust that common sense will prevail is far from robust these days. When PayPal can willy-nilly take money out of your own account, when the Canadian government can on a whim freeze its citizens' bank funds, and when people are thrown in jail for nothing more serious than taking pictures from outside the U. S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, we have to consider not only what people are likely to do based on these documents we sign, but what they are enabled to do.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 4:01 pm | Edit
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