[telecom] Disruptions: Indiscreet Photos, Glimpsed Then Gone

Disruptions: Indiscreet Photos, Glimpsed Then Gone


People once took photographs so they could capture a moment for themselves and keep it forever. Then digital cameras and cellphones turned photos into something more ephemeral and more easily shared. But as the case of Anthony Weiner demonstrated, photos that are shared but are not meant to last, sometimes stick around.

Mr. Weiner's downfall does not seem to have discouraged people from sharing risqué photos. According to a study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project that is due out later this year, 6 percent of adult Americans admit to having sent a "sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video" using a cellphone. Another 15 percent have received such material. Three percent of teenagers admit to sending sexually explicit content.

All of this sexting, as the practice is known, creates an opening for technology that might make the photos less likely to end up in wide circulation.

This is where a free and increasingly popular iPhone app called Snapchat comes in. Snapchat allows a person to take and send a picture and control how long it is visible by the person who receives it, up to 10 seconds. After that, the picture disappears and can't be seen again. If the person viewing the picture tries to use an iPhone feature that captures an image of whatever is on the screen, the sender is notified.


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***** Moderator's Note *****

If I had a nickel for every copy protection scheme I've seen come and go, I'd be a rich man.

Bill Horne Moderator

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Monty Solomon
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