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heise online
news 14.06.2007 13:04
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Flickr filter raises eyebrows

Photo service Flickr has activated filters as it opens up international branches. As Flickr's FAQs explain, users from Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea cannot view photos labeled as "moderate" or "restricted" via the search function: "If you are using a Yahoo ID from Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, or Korea, you cannot switch off the secure search function because of local legal stipulations in the General Terms. [...] The filters for secure searches also are applied when you are moving around within Flickr. For instance, if you should happen upon a photo that does not match your settings, you will not see it. (If you are registered, you will be able to see the photo after a warning unless the content is "restricted" and you are not at least 18 years old)."

The filter is based on the origin of the user's Yahoo ID. Flickr uses the accounts of its parent firm for logins. heise online was not able to confirm exactly how the search function worked from a German Yahoo account, but apparently the filter also affects some users; at least, some are complaining about being treated like children in the service's forum. In the examples of filtered photos given by Flickr users at the forum, Flickr even issued a warning for an editorial account at yahoo.com created from Germany.

In the past few weeks, Flickr has been calling on its users to label their images. There are no strict criteria for such labels. The label "moderate" applies if "other people might perceive the images to be disturbing or inappropriate." Photos should be labeled as "restricted" if "you would not show them to your children, your grandmother, or your colleagues at work." Those who do not completely classify their images risk having Flickr categorize their entire account, and hence all of its images, as moderate or restricted, as do those who label their images inappropriately according to Flickr's classification. (Craig Morris) / (jk/c't)

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