X-Pire, a German firm is poised to launch software allowing users to have photos uploaded to websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Flickr erased automatically after a certain time. The software should prevent the increasingly frequent occurrence of someone being refused a job or running into other embarrassing difficulties after posting a photo that maybe should have been kept private.
Internet surfers already have the power to delete photos from social networking websites like Facebook, but "experience shows that they don't get round to it," Backes said.
"Most Facebook users, for example, are passive users. They go on, they put on a lot of private information and almost never come back on or they forget their password," he said.
The software allow users to input an expiration date for their photos before posting them on sites like Facebook and Flickr. The company's website makes it sounds like the service will act as a proxy, encrypting your images and providing a key when viewed. If the expiration date has passed, the service will simply refuse to send the decryption key.
"The software isn't designed for people who understand how to protect their data but rather for the huge mass of people who want to solve the problem at its core and not to have to think about it any more," added Backes.
The software will be available "in the next few days" and will cost two euros (2.61 dollars) per month, he added.
However, it'll not protect cautious users against third parties downloading their pictures and saving them.