Monday, September 22, 2008

Even a Photo CD could leak consumer information is misprocessed (getting someone else's photos as well as yours)


There is a possibility that your information can leak even when you turn in a single-use camera for prints and a Picture CD. I had turned in a color (CVS) camera and a black-and-white (Kodak), even carrying 27 prints, to a CVS store for CD’s.

I was told that they could currently produce only the Kodak formatted CD’s. But for the black and white camera, I got back a CD with two pictures from the color, and then about 200 pictures taken by another family. The CD went into a loop and I had to reboot the computer.

For the color camera, I got back a Kodak CD. It processed OK and had all the prints, but it also had pretty much the same 200 extra prints belonging to the other family.

The pictures were those of a family’s visit to the DC zoo, which I recognized. They were harmless. But what if the pictures had been pornographic? What if they had been illegal for me to even possess? Or, what if they somehow had contained sensitive information?

The problem seemed to have to do with processing on the Kodak machine in the store. It may have become corrupted, or it may have been improperly used. (It should not have created a CD that could not be closed from memory without rebooting.)

So, even something as innocuous as picture CD’s could pose security issues, or leak of information in photos to other parties.

One problem is that both Kodak and CVS load additional software which is unnecessary for a user who only wants to copy the pictures to his hard drive and manipulate them himself.

In fact, a Ctl-Alt-Del in XP shows that the Kodak Software Updater Agent is always running, unnecessarily, after boot, unless it is closed manually.

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