Dear Lifehacker, I have a young child and take many photos of him on my iPhone as you would expect. However it recently occurred to me that all the photos (including his "rudey nudey" bath photos) are being synced automatically via Apple Photo Stream. Obviously none of the pics are remotely "sexual" but having heard some terrifying stories about very rigid application of child porn laws, I wondered if I'm at any legal risk having such photos stored on cloud servers at Apple? Thanks, Nervous Parent
Bath picture from Shutterstock
The key point with Photo Stream is that it's designed to store photos rather than share them -- the images are only accessible on your devices, and aren't made visible to the public.
This is different to sites like Instagram or Facebook which allow other users to view your photos; even within supposedly closed groups. Generally, when a service provider interferes with your personal family photos or god forbid, contacts the authorities, it's because they've received a complaint from a third party. More often than not this is a busybody puritan with too much time on their hands.
Regular Lifehacker readers will recall the waterproof iPad cover video we posted a few weeks back which involved my kids, aged three and five, attempting to demolish the waterproof case in the bath. The video was subsequently pulled from YouTube after being flagged as inappropriate. You can read a more detailed account of the fallout and YouTube's community guidelines here.
However, this shouldn't be an issue for you as your Photo Stream account isn't accessible to oversensitive members of the public. Basically, as long as your photos contain nothing illegal, Apple literally couldn't care less. (Same goes for the police.)
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