What's coming... or not?

family photoshare or UBB

We would like to install a secure Russwurm family photo album here to allow the private exchange of family photographs here. If you are interested in participating in the family photoshare (a password will be required) please contact me at:


One important reason for getting a webpage was so that our family could easily share decent quality photos without having to burden email. But a photograph of a quality good enough to print can be very large. Especially if you want to print out 8 x 10 size pictures. Family members on dial-up connections (and in many rural areas in Canada there is no high speed) sending big files by email can be a huge problem.

Many people share their digital images on Facebook, but there are a couple of problems in doing that. Facebook lays claim to the copyright of the images we put there. Once our photos are put on Facebook, Facebook has control of them. Even if you leave Facebook they can legally keep your images there forever.

When Facebook changes their privacy default settings (or even decides to outright remove them) photos that have been uploaded for “private viewing only” may end up being broadcast to the world. And although I take zillions of photos I think it is important to respect people's wishes about their own image. I've always respected requests not to display or distribute an image the subject doesn't like. So I don't think Facebook is a good place to put images, and especially photographs of other people without first getting consent.

That's why I wanted to set up a family photo sharing space on the website. At first what was stopping me was working out how to accomplish this with passwords. It's one thing to stick ancestors photos online, but I think personal photos of the living shouldn't be put on the Internet without the subject's permission. That's only fair.o

So the idea for the family photoshare is that everyone interested will be able to share our photos just within the family over the internet but without broadcasting them to the world. That way anyone can get whatever photos they want, either to keep digitally or print out.

but there is a snag

Since Usage Based Billing (UBB) has been approved by the CRTC, I may decide not to do a family photoshare because UBB will make it very expensive. Since this is a personal website (UBB is only applied against personal Internet Use) I will be charged for both uploading and downloading, which means that not only do I pay for my website, what I put online here will cost me extra money, but every time anyone just looks at the site will also cost me money. (And if they are Canadian, they too will be paying it. (Sounds like a great deal for Bell, eh?) Every time someone downloads a photograph will cost me money too.

Since ideally the photos should large enough that they can be decently printed out, if this works out it could very quickly become prohibitively expensive for me under UBB.

If it turns out to be too expensive it might be better to use Flickr instead. Flickr will host up to 200 photos on a free account. And Flickr has a better privacy reputation than Facebook, but the problem again is that once you put your photographs on someone else's website you give them control of it.

When it's a corporation, particularly a corporation based in another country (as both Facebook and Flickr are) we would have a very tough time fighting with them if they decide to change the rules, something that is increasingly happening with computer things these days. The Internet may be very very big, but more than once I've heard of unscrupulous companies swiping private family photographs off the Internet to use in advertising.

So I do hope we'll be able to do the family photoshare here, but before committing to it I prefer to wait to find out about UBB. (I'm actually too busy to do the photo sharing right now anyway between blogs and novelling.)

There is a possibility that enough protest, through letters to the government or signatures on the petition at http://dissolvethecrtc.ca/ can get the government to overturn the CRTC decision as they did for Wind Mobile. After all, it will be bad for our economy. The biggest problem is that most people don't even know that our Internet rates are about to be inflated from almost the most expensive to leading the world with the very highest rates. If what we were getting for that was the best fastest service it would be one thing but we aren't. So fingesr crossed.

If you're interested in finding out more about UBB and maybe helping to stop it, I've been blogging about UBB since last fall at http://stopusagebasedbilling.wordpress.com/ and the idea of the StopUBB site is to provide information and a source for reference, like the glossary to explain the jargon (like why "Bandwidth" has two meanings), so people can at least understand what's about to happen to us.

And an excellent reason for maintaining my blogs on the Wordpress site--- yet another example of putting my stuff under an American corporations's control--- is that if my blogs were hosted here on Russwurm.org--- Usage Based Billing will mean that that every page view I get will cost me money.