Comment – Undeletable Photos

The next time you are stopped by the police and asked to delete a photograph you can rest assured that they have already been copied to the cloud.

If you have been following the media reports about conflicts between the police and the general public you will have encountered stories of filming being blocked, people passing an incident being told they cannot take photographs and those caught up in kettling witnessing police identification numbers being hidden.

Two years ago I talked about the growing need for instant uploading of video to the net. This forestalls the concern that someone will take a phone or camera and delete whatever footage has been taken. Add in a failsafe system where the user does not have the facility to remove what has been uploaded and there is suddenly some breathing space in which rational decisions can be made.

With the release of version 5 of the iPhone operating system Apple has now give the mass market a simple way to achieve this. Photostream instantly synchronises the pictures taken on a handset with a repository in iCloud (Apples online storage facility) and there is no way for someone with only the phone to delete these images. (This last feature may well change as it appears to be an oversight rather than a deliberate inclusion.)

It certainly is not the first piece of software of its kind, but as with many Apple offerings it is simple to set-up and seamlessly integrated into the phone. Now protestors can snap away to their hearts content and can even comply with a request from the authority to delete the images, safe in the knowledge that when they get home the pictures will be waiting for them on their computer.