Helpdesk: Something blue worries e-mailer of wedding photos

Friday, June 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Q - I hope you can help me and ease my aching heart.I bought a scanner and stayed on it for three days trying to learn how to use it. I was so proud of myself because I scanned my son's wedding pictures and e-mailed them to friends and family. I sent his new wife a picture and commented about them being a good-looking couple. That night, I got a call from my son, who said they were both upset that I put their pictures on the Internet. He said someone could get hold of them and use them.

Did I goof? Can someone get hold of them and use them in porno or something? I thought I did something good, and I'm so hurt that I have upset them.

- M.M.

A - This is a complex question.

The short answer is no, I don't think there is much chance of someone intercepting photos from your e-mail to use in pornography. It would be like someone tapping into your phone calls or intercepting your snail mail after you sent it.

It would be different if you put the photos on a Web site for everyone to see. Pictures posted on a Web site can easily be downloaded, or copied onto another computer. Posting pictures to the Web is like putting them on a bulletin board for everyone to see; e-mail is more like sending the pictures to a friend via old-fashioned mail.

I doubt there are many parties who would want to manipulate your son's wedding photos. Think about the number of pictures on the Internet. It seems unlikely that hackers or pornographers are scouring the Web for wedding photos to manipulate for fun and profit.

Perhaps your son has some personal knowledge of a situation where this has happened. In any case, these were photos of him, and I think you should have asked him for permission.

You are to be congratulated for learning how to scan. Perhaps you and your son could learn about the Internet together. It's the best way for you both to understand its workings.