Tech trends: Instagram owns you, Scarlett Johansson hacker’s sentencing, and Wired’s top fails list

New Year's resolutionsTotally trending: It’s our internet and technology roundup

The Instagram terms of service have changed, and the Facebook-owned company is claiming rights to sell any photos posted on the service to advertisers, starting January 16. Will you keep your account open? Other issues about the privacy of photos are hot topics as the Scarlett Johansson hacker, responsible for the Avengers star’s leaked photos, has been sentenced. Another epic hack made this year’s list of top fails from Wired; check out the other failures and more.

Instagram owns you

On December 17, Instagram made its first update to its terms of service since Facebook completed its acquisition of the company in September (the sale was originally announced in April 2012). Though the changes are intended to make information sharing between Instagram and Facebook easier, the result is a concern for users who want to maintain some semblance of privacy. Effectively, Facebook and Instagram are stating that users give them the right to sell a license to use any posted photographs to companies or advertising organizations. Declan McCullagh of CNET gave an example of how it could work in his December 17, 2012, article “Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos“:

“That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo.”

What are your options as an Instagram user? Though Instagram and Facebook are saying they’re taking user concerns seriously, currently the only options are to accept the new policy or delete your account by January 16. When the sale of Instagram was initially announced, Boston Globe writer Hiawatha Bray suggested alternatives in his April 16, 2012, article “Instagram not the only app in town; others also offer ways to share.” Other users are making suggestions all over the internet. Here are just a few of the apps you can try:

  • Path
  • Pixable
  • Piictu
  • Flickr
  • Twitter (which just introduced a photo app)
  • Snapseed (now Google-owned)
  • Camera Awesome

Scarlett Johansson hacker sentenced & other top digital fails

While her newest film Hitchcock is hitting the theaters, Scarlett Johansson is having to answer media questions about the invasion of privacy that happened when the so-called “Hollywood hacker,” Christopher Chaney, broke into then-husband Ryan Reynolds’ email account. Chaney, 35, was sentenced on December 17 to 10 years in prison for nine counts of computer hacking and wire tapping. Johansson released a statement that called Chaney’s behavior “perverted and reprehensible.”

Other stars who Chaney broadcast online include:

  • Christina Aguilera
  • Mila Kunis
  • Renee Olstead

Original charges against Chaney were much harsher; if he’d been convicted of the 50 counts of hacking initially charged, he’d have been looking at 121 years behind bars.

But celebrities aren’t the only victims of hacking. Chaney was convicted of stalking at least two non-celebs as well. And among Wired magazine’s top fails for 2012 is a warning tale about chaining accounts. In August, Mat Honan, the senior writer for Wired’s Gadget Lab, had his entire digital life erased when hackers used his Amazon account and his Apple account in tandem to eventually claim his three-letter Twitter handle.

On December 18, 2012, Christina Bonnington posted “From Apple Maps to Epic Hacks: The Year’s Top Tech Fails” on Wired to reveal some of 2012’s other tech mishaps, including:

  • Apple’s Maps
  • Delays on Blackberry 10
  • The Google Nexus Q (Haven’t heard of it? That’s part of why it failed)
  • A privacy snafu from Instagram-alternative Path
  • 3D TV

On Twitter and YouTube

Twitter’s chirping about Instagram, lessons learned, sharing music love and the benched Jet Mark Sanchez:

YouTube is sharing trailers, pranks and impressive basketball performance:

Have you encountered an overly cute emoticon? “(° ͜ʖ ͡°)” has become a frequent message board emoticon and Facebook personality. It’s frequently being used to spam message boards, so if you have an urge to use what 4chan calls “Le Face Face,” it’s probably best to keep it to yourself.

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