Classmates.com Illegally Posting Your High School Photos
Posted: 4:36 p.m. April 17, 2014
By Teresa | I Bet You Didn't Know
Did you know that Classmates.com has been uploading and posting your photos from your high school days on their website without you even knowing about it? I have been informed recently about a site called Classmates.com that has been illegally posting your photos without a model release from you. Do not be surprised if you go to their site and notice there is a profile on you at that site that you never created. Do not be surprised to see your high school photos on their website; photos you never signed a model release for; and photos you never gave them permission to post of their website. They even allow people tag you in photos that the staff uploads after somehow obtaining your high school photos.
Filing Complaints of Privacy Violations And Infringed Rights
After locating their email@example.com email address and firstname.lastname@example.org found through a simple Google search as well as a whois search on their domain name, I have made complaints about my own pictures from my high school years being posted on their website. Additionally, a complaint was made to the Secretary of the FTC to inform them of this illegal activity.
You can also file your complaint with https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. Identity theft and privacy violations are two of the many other things the FTC handles.
Classmates.com Admits to Uploading Your Photos
The Classmates.com Staff has admitted to uploading these photos themselves. So does not matter if you are a member with their site. I am not even a member on their site and they have uploaded my photos without making sure they did not violate my rights to privacy. Just because a person takes a photo of someone does not in any way allow them the legal right to do what they want with that photo. You have to get permission to take someone's photo and you have to get permission to use it. Period. Classmates.com did neither of these things. They got high school photos and did not care to ask people if it were ok for them to post it on their website. If they had asked me, I would definitely told them it is NOT ok. But because they failed to respect my rights and that of anyone else, I'm having to go through the loops of getting my own photos removed from their servers, that I never gave them permission to have or upload for the world to see.
One of the most common security questions asked by banks, accounts opened at many companies is, "What high school did you attend?" and "What is your high school's mascot?" For me, however, the only people I went to school with who know me, know either of those answers. But Classmates.com's ill regard to privacy and the law makes that easy for any identity thief to steal your identity if your security question is either one. So if it is, I'd highly recommend you change your question and your answer right now for your safety. And that's for any accounts you have whether bank account, credit cards, anything that asks you to select a security question. Identity theft is a growing problem and it predominantly is meant to attack your finances.
Classmates.com Offers a Solution for Photo Removal
They will remove your photos upon request, but they expect YOU to constantly monitor their website to see if they have uploaded your photo again without your awareness and without your permission. As if you telling them to never upload your photo is not sufficient to get them to stop. They are digging their grave by not respecting that no means no. So again, the solution they offer is to contact them to have your photos removed. I shouldn't have to do that when I never gave them permission to get my high school photos and any photo from my high school years (from some unknown source they have not shared) and then post online to begin with.
"If you wish to have your image(s) removed from the yearbook, please provide us with the following information:
- the name of the yearbook including the school name, city, state year of the book
- the page number(s) where your specific images are located
- if your name is not specifically associated to the image, we will need a description of the location of the image on any particular page."
Are they for real? They want you to police their staff after already knowing that you did not permit them to post your photos?! Do you know how many thousands of people probably have no idea their photos are being uploaded to the Classmates.com website by the Classmates.com staff members? Thousands of people who may have never even heard of the Classmates.com sites. Thousands of people who are not even members are having their high school photos uploaded to that site's staff members without you even knowing about it until someone comes up to you and says, "Hey, I saw you in your high school photos on Classmates.com." Imagine my reaction! I don't even have photos from that time. How in the heck did they get them?! And why are they posting them online? Who told them they could post images of me on their website?
Classmates.com Posting Your Baby Photos
This even includes baby photos of you. Your baby photo may very well be on their website that their own staff uploaded to their site. I have been told that there are baby photos of my friends from high school on the Classmates.com that my friends did not personally upload to their servers. Something is clearly wrong with Classmates.com Staff. And they need to be stopped.
No Respect for You or the Law
Classmates.com does not care about privacy and the laws of the United States. It is up to you and I to get them to respect the law. It up to you and I to get the attention of the FTC and legal authorities of the land to investigate and stop these people from ever uploading another image of you ever again.
Model releases are required to post someone's picture on the Internet. Period. Classmates.com has no such documents and yet they continue to illegaly post pictures of people on their website. And if they've created a profile on you without you knowing about it, then they have committed fraud on top of that. Mind you, this site also makes money off of these things. That means they are making money off of your photos that you never gave them permission to use. This shouldn't be surprising when they clearly violated your privacy from the start. We have rights as citizens of the USA. And this is about your rights especially regarding a site that you had not joined. Their own staff somehow gets and uploads your photos.
- FTC Complaint Assistant
File your complaint on this website against Classmates.com for posting your photos on their site without your awareness and without your consent.
- A Brief Overview of the Federal Trade Commission's Investigative and Law Enforcement Authority | Fed
Regarding unfair and deceptive practices (Section II.A). Those who see your photos on the Classmates.com website uploaded by the Classmates.com staff might think you are a member and join (if not pay a fee) to Classmates.com.
- Enforcing Privacy Promises | Federal Trade Commission
It's not possible to enforce a policy for someone who is not even a member. But there are still laws outside of that they are failing to abide by.
- Lawsuits Against Classmates.com 2014 (Google Search)
View the lawsuits Classmates.com has had against them, some of which they've lost. This company keeps violating the laws. Now they can add this to their history of lawsuits for breaking the law.
- The FTC’s Settlement with Facebook: Where Facebook Went Wrong | OnGuard Online
A case when FTC charged Facebook with making deceptive claims about its photo and video deletion policy. If they'll go after Facebook, they'll go after Classmates.com, too. File your complaints now at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.