Picasaweb’s unlisted Albums…a threat to privacy

Let’s say you have a girlfriend, and you went out on a special romantic camping trip with her. You also took plenty of pictures, some maybe candid, and uploaded them on Google’s Picasweb. Responsibly you selected the Unlisted album option while creating the album because you wanted to share it with only a few of your friends and nobody else.
However, you never realised that Unlisted for Picasa is not the same as Private. People can still view your Camping trip’s album if they have access to the hidden URL, which would be like:
Now Google claims that this is not an issue, because Unlisted doesn’t mean its Private. Unlisted means that anyone with an access to the authorized URL can view the album even without logging in. Unfortunately many of the users may not be able to read between the lines here. Moreover, this isn’t a new thing, it was raised perhaps back in 2006 as well.
The real risk is that anyone could visit your unlisted album by maybe accessing your browsing History (yeah, we all are supposed to clean history and not share computers, but does it happen always?). Another risk is that Google may list your unlisted link on Google search if its found on any public forum; case in point > Click the URL below:
The result gave me 9,780 hits of unlisted albums floating around accessible right through the web search! Now its upto you to decide whether Picasaweb serves your online photo gallery needs or not, because Google isn’t listening.

14 thoughts on “Picasaweb’s unlisted Albums…a threat to privacy

  1. Well the unlisted option is to be used for multi recipients or group mailing purposes. Google rightly has provided two good options for the users to use the service.. Its the users responsibility to keep track of the status to maintain their privacy… Right,,

  2. No I am not agree with Mahadevan. Software should be smart enough to check these holes. If not then as mentioned all the unlisted photos are in great threat.

    How many times when you leave cybercafe, you clear the cache and history ?

  3. Yikes!! Just when i moved all my photos to Picasa..

    Public or Unlisted are the only 2 options available. How does one choose to make it private then?

  4. Yes! this is definitely a threat to privacy. And one step further, when you do a “search within results” for your user name, be ready to get the next surprise gift – A closer look at your privacy going public 🙂

    I guess Flickr is a safe bet?

  5. Moreover, if you have PRIVATE blog on Blogger, its images are published in corresponding UNLISTED Picasa Web Album. Very surprising!

  6. I’m going to go and disagree. If it they don’t claim it is private, don’t assume it’s private. I agree that a private option would be a much appreciated 3rd option for many.
    I use the unlisted option to host the photos I upload on a personal website. It’s not password protected and as such private is not needed. You may ask “Why not public then?”. I want my photos viewed in the right context – my website. That’s what the unlisted option is for.

  7. that’s really terrific,i uploaded my images through picasa and choosen the option sign in to see,i am afraid if somebody can see it.they are all my private images

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