Author of Timeline.pics

Your child cannot even walk…

and you’re putting it into the cloud?

Photos of your children – where to put them?

Do you still put pictures in photo albums? My mum did that and as a child I often sat on the sofa, the heavy album on my lap and was fascinated by past holidays and my early childhood.

With my own child the handling of photos has changed fundamentally in the meantime, especially the significantly increased amount of photos. The glued photo albums have become digital folders on hard drives and media storage devices. I get photos via e-mail from grandma and grandpa, from the daycare centre on DVD or from friends a USB stick with photos from the last garden party.

Will my child later have to search for the best childhood memories in this chaotic digital storage?

Author of Timeline.pics

For the whole family

I am probably in the same situation as many of you: the family lives scattered to the four winds, but you like them to participate in your life – especially if you’re having a baby.

Some of my friends have create a blog for that reason and publish their photos and memories with their kids there. This seemed too time-consuming to me, though. I didn’t want to have to write a whole blog post each time, but just be able to quickly upload some photos. But where?

I just want to upload photos

The simplest possible solution: the photos go into the dropbox, on Facebook or Instagram, the videos on YouTube. All relatives living far away can access them at any time and everything would be great.

But wait a minute, where do my photos and videos actually end up? In countless data centers, on hundreds of servers, all owned by huge companies that do what exactly? Are they giving me the storage space out of pure goodness? Unfortunately not.

Social Networks: my pictures are your pictures

When I upload my photos to Facebook or other networks, they will get analyzed, run through algorithms for face and object recognition, camera data is read out and the exact location where the photo was taken is determined via GPS coordinates. My photos are valuable raw data and therefore I pay for the free services indirectly.

Also valuable is the information to whom I show my photos, who comments on them and who likes them. From this information, the providers can deduce family relationships, distinguish close friends from others, and accumulate a lot of knowledge about my private life. This usually results in "tailor-made" advertising... and leaves me with the uncomfortable feeling that I have revealed too much information.

Apart from that I don’t want to hear my kid say in a few years "Daddy, my friends at school have found an old picture of me sitting on the potty for the first time – this is so uncool!"

Author of Timeline.pics

Cloud storage: my data is flying away

Next idea: I could use one of the numerous cloud storage service providers. Upload a photo, email the link to the family. Sounds pretty simple.

But on which server will my photos end up? In most of the cases the server will be outside of Europe, and even if this is not the case, a US-based company will probably be behind it. Due to that, US authorities could still demand access to any server standing in Europe. As I am responsible for data security at my workplace, I know the legal questions and problems that could arise from this situation.

In addition, there is always the uncertainty about how long an internet service will sustain. I once experienced a bad situation regarding an online photo album. The photos were public and not related to family but the service provider I had chosen, decided to cancel the cloud storage after a while. I was left with all the work of transferring all photos to another platform.

Author of Timeline.pics

My conclusion

My search for a platform that meets my personal data protection requirements and where I can upload photos of my child with a good feeling and without being dependent on an operator, unfortunately remained unsuccessful.

For me there was only one logical consequence: I had to program such a platform myself - and that was the beginning of Timeline.pics.

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