The Intersection of Boobs and Boobs

What happens if you don’t check your Web site’s alt text and filenames when you create or upload content to a CMS? Bad, bad things (link safe for work).

Ten women in the St. Louis area have sued their doctor after learning that before-and-after pictures of their breast augmentation surgeries could be found online through a simple search of their names.

. . . .

The photos are widely used as a marketing tool to promote doctors’ work. They are not publicly labeled with names. But if patients’ names aren’t removed from the computerized picture file information, they can be displayed with the images during an Internet search.

You think you might be exempt if you’re just a CMS provider and a Web host? Think again.

In court filings, Koo’s lawyers blame MedNet, saying it failed to maintain Koo’s site in a “competent and professional manner.”

“Whatever Dr. Koo did do or didn’t do,” said one of her lawyers, Jonathan Ries, she had “no intention” of linking pictures and names.

MedNet’s response blames Koo, saying the company did not post, control or influence the content. It also claims legal immunity under the Communications Decency Act, which protects websites from suits over postings by third parties.

Already, you can puzzle out how this happened, or how this could have happened. A civilian, and by that I mean a semi-ignorant user, just uploaded image files from the hard drive without thinking about the filenames, and away you go. The CMS picks up the image name to use as the alt text, and suddenly you’re showing the world JaneDoubleDoeAfter to the world.

What can you do, QA? Remember to check the alt/title text carefully whenever you can, and pay attention to file names and URLs.

Because that stuff doesn’t matter until it does, really expensive-like and attorney-chocked.

UPDATE: And upon further reflection, you know what holds true of the people who made these costly errors? They were all probably badmins.

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