Regarding my post last week about perverts on the Internet, I will say in flickr's defense that they have the following reminder in their "Community Guidelines" document:
"Don’t forget the children.Take the opportunity to filter your content responsibly. If you would hesitate to show your photos or videos to a child, your mum, or Uncle Bob, that means it needs to be filtered. So, ask yourself that question as you upload your content and moderate accordingly. If you don’t, it’s likely that one of two things will happen. Your account will be reviewed then either moderated or terminated by Flickr staff."
(For the record, I still don't think that photos of my child in his underpants are obscene. Booty is in the eye of the disgusting beholder, I guess.)
They also include this toothless warning:
"Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy. "
So anyway, here's the rest of my update. I filed a "Report Abuse" complaint and have so far received only system-generated e-mail responses with advice on how to make my photos private or block specific users. I have updated the privacy settings on all "questionable" photos, and have effectively blocked ONE specific user from my account.
One idiot was dumb enough to mark one of my underpants-clad three-year-old as a "favorite" --and I found him because I had received an e-mail alert from flickr (in my yahoo e-mail inbox, which gathers dust from complete lack of use) on the day he did that, months ago. I have blocked and reported that one user (by whom I can prove no actual wrongdoing). It was somewhat satisfying to take this small action--but of course it does nothing to address the other thousands of hits my photos received before I stumbled upon the uptick in traffic.
I have sent another e-mail to flickr urging them to investigate the situation--in case they can discover that some of the users who had frequented my site have also, say, set up a private page for sharing child porn or something like that. I've also suggested making their "Don't forget the children" message more prominent, or even e-mailing a reminder to users.
I am considering, as one of my readers suggested, a call to the Attorney General's office, just to get it on their radar in light of the recent Craig's List news, and see if they would recommend any course of action.
I remain resigned to the fact that I probably cannot take much action in my personal situation, but now I am focused on doing what I can to help people protect themselves and their children from predators--even if it is just lonely sick people looking at pictures on the computer.