For anyone in a visible job like acting, politics and journalism, sharing family photos can be fraught.
Here are some ways to share photos with your family without worrying about them falling into the wrong hands.
The ultra paranoid
The safest way to share photos is to print them out (on your own printer, over on a secure wireless network) and hand them to the grandparents.
The next most secure option is to use end-to-end encrypted messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp or Apple’s iMessage. They can send photos to a single person or a group directly from your phone. For an added layer of security, use disappearing messages features to delete photos once they’ve been viewed or after a set period of time.
Nathan Freitas, a security expert who leads The Guardian Project, a collective developing secure communication tools, prefers Signal because it prevents shared photos from ending up in another phone’s camera roll.
“I have a 20-plus person ‘family’ group chat on Signal that includes my teenage niece and my 80-plus year old dad. We also use Signal’s disappearing messages features set to ‘one week’ so that messages and photos aren’t lying around on people’s devices if it is somehow stolen, lost or otherwise compromised,” said Freitas.
There are drawbacks to the super-safe route. All recipients will also need to have the application installed, since the encryption works when both sides are using the same tool. This can be tricky when dealing with less tech-savvy family members.
If you’re not a super high-profile target and are willing to dial down the security a notch, dedicated photo apps from reputable companies are a more enjoyable way to share images. They can also act as an online backup in case anything happens to your phone.
Apple’s Photos and Google Photos both offer ways to share images securely, including shared family albums. The companies do not currently scan the images for advertising purposes. And while they have face detection, they are only used for your own library, not in any larger databases. To offer an additional layer of privacy, Apple does its face and object detection on your devices instead of on servers like Google does.
The safest way to use these is to share with people on the same app, or in the case of Apple Photos, through iMessage. The apps can also generate a unique URL that you can send to anyone. Google says its link-encoding technique makes the URLs unguessable. And they’re not indexed so…