I just had a thought on the topic of photo searching and privacy. Riya is using email addresses as a unique identifier, right? Wouldn’t it make sense to allow people to opt out of being included in a search across users by sending an email from the address in question? In other words, if I sent an email from my primary account asking to opt out, only people who actually key in my name/email to tag their own uploaded photos would see that information. Anyone who is not the owner of the photo would not see the tag, and a search across multiple users’ photos for my name/email would not turn up anything.
Of course, people who are uncomfortable having their identity revealed online are unlikely to trust Riya to maintain this information, and what happens when the inevitable competitors enter the marketplace? They wouldn’t have access to the same opt-out information. For those reasons I think it would make sense for a non-profit group like Attention Trust to maintain the database. This sort of thing has been done before, after all we already have the National Do Not Call Registry and the DMA Mail Preference Service. If I could make it to the identity workshop on Monday I’d bring it up, but unfortunately I’ll be too busy earning a paycheck so if you have any feedback please leave a comment. Or bring it up for me if you think it’s worth discussing.