Gail, a reader, has asked us to investigate Memories.com.au after seeing its TV ads. Her concern is on many levels, not the least of which is the long term safety and storage of her memories and any privacy implications.
Well, it looks kosher and its Aussie. Memories.com.au (website here) appears to be an Australian company, obviously financially well-backed and offers a “Free” and Plus and Premium plans.
The launch partners include the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times, Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, WA Today and 100s of other publications. It cleverly has obtained a 131 MEMORIES phone number – that is not cheap.
OK, it is a freemium model that draws you in, and you quickly discover that three timelines and 1GB of storage are not enough. What do you do then? Well, you commit to $2.99 to $6.99 a month for a few more resources.
So, Gail, let’s assume you live another 50+ years. You are committing to somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 of future expenditure depending on the plan. And the assumption monthly costs don’t go up. And then your heirs are committed to the plan as well. We will discuss how you get your data out of Memories.com.au later.
What does Memories.com.au do?
It allows you to create a photo or video timeline and store it online. Think of a timeline as a tribute or an obituary.
Storage is currently on an encrypted Amazon Web Services (AWS) server. You assume Australian storage, but Memories.com.au also has a Philippines office so it could be there. There is no guarantee that AWS will continue as the provider nor the location of the storage.
The only mention is WebPurify that appears to be a US-based company with various APIs (application program interfaces) and costs to use Automated Intelligent Moderation Service (AIM) to check for profanity, photo or video.
In photos or videos, it has filters that look for
- nudity or partial nudity
- hate or hate crimes
- offensive gestures or language (English Only)
- drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug use
- blank or broken
A live team moderates any offending images found by the AIM.
But WebPurity can also do word, phrase, email, phone number, URL and more ‘filtering’ that can build a personal profile.
There is nothing in Memories.com.au terms that link the service to WebPurity for eternity, nor specify the extent of WebPurify’s filtering or data gathering. Let alone limit what it can do with extracting new forms, or more data from images in the future.
So, if you intend to use Memories.com.au for adult or questionable material – don’t.
Memories.com.au state on their website, “Memories guarantee personal information will remain secure, with customer data never sold to advertisers or third parties.” That is a great start.