Potential Privacy Issue with Lightroom CC/6 and People Keywords

Note: The bug mentioned in this article has been fixed as of Lr6.1 (Lr CC 2015.1)

Lightroom CC/6 has been out for a few days, and in working with Lightroom's new Face Tagging feature, I've run across something that could be a privacy issue for some folks.

Keywords in Lightroom have an Include on Export option; if it's disabled, the keyword is not (supposed to be) included in exported copies of photos. This is useful for workflow-related keywords that you use merely to help manage your catalog, or for keywords you'd rather not expose to the public.

The problem I've discovered in Lightroom CC/6 is that the Include on Export option is ignored if it's a Person keyword (one used with the new Face Tagging feature).

For example, imagine tagging photos from an office party and giving your boss the snarky name My Jerk of a Boss. Of course, you'd not want to expose that in copies you uploaded or shared with others, so you'd think you were safe by disabling Include on Export like this:

Lightroom's Publish/Export dialog includes a standard section on what metadata to include in the exported copies:

The Remove Person Info option is new in Lightroom CC/6, and it seems that it (and it alone) controls whether Person keywords are included in export. If this remove option is not turned on, all Person keywords are exported even if their Include on Export option has been explicitly disabled.

In the My Jerk of a Boss example, you might have wanted other People keywords to be included, so not turned on the Remove Person Info option, thinking that the lack of Include on Export would keep My Jerk of a Boss out of the images you share. I assume that's how it's supposed to work, but it doesn't.

I don't suppose that this bug (if that's what it is) will actually affect very many people, but if it does, it could be a doozy.

I've reported it to Adobe. I'll update this post with new info as it becomes available.

In related news, I've figured out how to bring the Face-Tagging feature to my Facebook plugin. For example, after having used Lightroom's Face Tagging feature to identify faces of friends in the photos from the 100km bike ride I recently wrote about, all the tagging in the exported copies at Facebook was automatic via the beta version of my plugin. It was nice not to have to walk through every copy at Facebook and tag people.

So that's something to look forward to. It was while working on this that I discovered the potential privacy issue.

All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

The “Remove Person Info” check box was enabled by default on my copy of Lightroom CC/6. I think this is the default for everyone. I wouldn’t say it’s a privacy issue. The user has to explicitly disable that check-box.

Sure, but the way it’s worded now, one would rightly think that disabling “Include in Export” on individual Person keywords would indeed disable their inclusion even if other Person info was allowed. At best the labeling is not clear enough, but I suspect it’s a bug (that is, not what Adobe intended). —Jeffrey

— comment by Khürt Williams on April 26th, 2015 at 7:55pm JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I agree it’s bug from my point of view.

In my case for person I only want to export the synonyms (I use them to put the first name and/or nickname) and not the keyword that contains first and last name.

— comment by f1oren on May 10th, 2015 at 8:19pm JST (9 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

“Remove Person Info” seems to be completely ignored in my case: whether it’s on or off, the person keyword still gets uploaded to Flickr. I have to switch off the “Include on Export” for each individual person (they are set as a Person) to prevent Lightroom from exporting them.

I haven’t tried the Lightroom Flickr plugin, so I’m not sure if this is a Lightroom bug, or the jf Flickr plugin.

Do you perhaps have the “Explicitly send keywords from Lightroom’s catalog” option turned on in “Flickr: Metadata Management”? I’ll probably have to add some refinement to that option, once Adobe fixes the bug mentioned on this page. —Jeffrey

— comment by Christophe on June 1st, 2015 at 5:27am JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Indeed, “Explicitly send keywords” was on. In fact. I think it’s always been on. Not sure what it does, TBH.

So, I switched it off, and marked some photos for republishing and republished. Some still had the person tagged. Switched off ‘Include on Export’ and republish. Same thing. I can’t see a pattern (yet; I’ll continue to play around) but there’s clearly still something strange going on.

— comment by Christophe on June 1st, 2015 at 10:56pm JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink
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