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Photo Roulette is a game for teens that has disaster written all over it

Yeah, not so sure about this one.

photo roulette screenshot
Image: Photo Roulette

Photo Roulette is an app that receives access to a person’s entire smartphone picture gallery just to play a simple guessing game. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this is bad.

Everyone has a few pictures on their smartphone camera roll that they are not proud of. Either it’s from a party where you had too much to drink, a schmaltzy family photo, or a meme that you (and only you) find funny. In a rare, and weirdly situational, case, it could be all three.

Now, imagine if there is a game that displays that photo, that one photo, in front of all your friends?

That is exactly what Photo Roulette, a mobile game available for both iOS and Android, is. The app selects a photo from their gallery and at the start of each round, it will show one of the photos to the rest of the players. From there, everyone playing must take a swing to see who the photo belongs to with the goal of having the most correct guesses after 15 rounds. Up to 49 people can play Photo Roulette.

Photo Roulette sounds like a silly game you can play with your friends and laugh at a few embarrassing photos. But, since the app is getting permission to see your entire gallery, that is what raises some eyebrows to how it interferes with a person’s privacy. Especially since it appears that teens are the primary group playing Photo Roulette.

Photo Roulette may be fun for teens, but it’s worrisome for parents

photo roulette app

Image: Photo Roulette

Since there are times where teens might not be playing with folks in the same room, private photos can be shared with complete strangers. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out how parents can be outraged at this. Even if photos are removed from the app after rounds end, Photo Roulette still retains it.

The Wall Street Journal reports that within the app’s privacy policy, the company will keep a person’s photo on its servers for 24 hours. Other information Photo Roulette keeps includes social media insights for up to six months. And, to add onto this, it sells a player’s metadata to third parties because of course. There are no details on the company’s security infrastructure. So, its speculation as to whether or not the servers can be breached, releasing thousands of compromising photos.

WSJ spoke to a few parents whose children were put into embarrassing and scary situations through the app. Lori Messier, one of the interviewees, shares her opinion on Photo Roulette after it chose a picture of her daughter’s social security card.

“It never dawned on me that anyone else could see it or share it. It’s concerning not knowing who’s behind the app and what they are doing with the information.”

The moral of this? If you have a picture that you think no one will ever see, still hesitate to share it. Even if there’s a chance to play an exceptionally popular game on your phone.

What do you think? Is this an app you’d ever consider downloading? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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