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X-Pire aims to cut down on photo de-tagging on Facebook

A new software program may turn those embarrassing Facebook photos into only a temporary threat to your reputation. A group of German software researchers say that they have developed a program that will add a digital expiration date to photos, rendering the images inaccessible after a set date.

That means that photos of debauched office parties and collegiate indiscretions may only exist on Facebook as long as they’re amusing — and hopefully not long enough to be seen by the HR department of a potential employer.

The program, called X-Pire, works by assigning an authorization key to photos that is only valid for a pre-determined length of time. Once that time is up, the photos are locked and no longer viewable on social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Flickr.

X-Pire’s creators do acknowledge that there’s not yet a full-proof method for totally eliminating unwanted photos from taking up permanent residency on the Internet: copying and re-posting images would be a quick way to circumnavigate the protection (assuming social media friends with malicious intentions).

The service, currently in a prototype phase, will work under a subscription model and will reportedly cost around $2 a month.