Flickr Introduces Cool Location-based Privacy Feature, ‘Geofences’

Flickr has launched an interesting new privacy feature that allows you to create geo privacy settings for photos that have been tagged with a location. The new feature, which is called “geofences,” allows you to create circles on a map to control who can view the location of photos that you’ve geotagged within that circle’s real-world boundaries.

This will allow you to designate photos taken within a certain distance of a certain location with a privacy setting so that only selected people — ranging from anyone to just you — can see location-based data attached to those photos. For instance, you might want to create a geocircle around your home so only your friends and family can see the location of photos taken within that geocircle. This allows you to share those photos with anyone, while remaining comfortable in the knowledge that you are not giving away the location of your home.

The geocircle settings will be activated for all previous photos that have been geotagged within a geocircle, as well as any future photos you upload that have been geotagged within a geofence’s boundaries.

Flickr — which made it clear in May that you retain all rights over photos you upload — has designed the geocircles feature with so-called “edge cases” in mind. If you have drawn circles that are overlapping or move a photo from outside a geofence to inside one, then Flickr will automatically enable the most appropriate privacy setting to protect the photo’s location-based data from being seen by anyone whom you do not want to view it.

The photo-sharing service will select the most appropriate setting from either your default geo privacy setting, the current geo privacy setting of the photo or any geofences for the new location. If you have a friends geofence and a family geofence that overlap, then any photos that have been geotagged in the overlapping area will be designated as private, so only you can see the location data for that photo.

This feature is a very smart way to help you control who can see the location-based data on your photos to help you maintain your privacy. With around 300 million photos and videos having been geotagged by Flickr users — who have uploaded more than 6 billion photos in total — it is important to help protect user privacy. It’s commendable that Flickr has launched this feature, which should help you selectively share the location of where a photo was taken.

You can add geofences to your Flickr photos by accessing your account’s geo preferences page.

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