I have decided to write this post due to the internet buzz going on at the moment about this, because it has started to come to the attention of people that a person could find out your activities from photos you are up loading to the web. Yes this includes where you work, where your kids go to school etc etc. Ultimately every digital photo you upload to the web could contain the location you were when you took it or your location where you uploaded it.
The original post I was told about this came from a blog which is linked below, I have also included the original you tube video from NBC Action News that discusses how smart phone cause a privacy risk but that risk also can come from desktop computers/ laptops too. However in this post I will show you how to stop this from happening and go a step further and show you how to protect your desktop/ laptop images too!
Now internet safety has become a major issue these days and it is huge subject and web privacy is becoming increasingly interesting. However what does that mean?
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Sadly the ability to communicate imagery to our friends such as our kids photos and our birthday parties comes at a cost and that cost can be our privacy but before we start to get carried away you need to ask yourself just exactly what are the risks in giving this information away? To each of us this is different depending on our personal circumstances however I can think no decent reason why I would need to geo tag my photos.
How it Happens?
When we take a digital photo it contains something called meta data. This is basically data about data, however its better to think of photos as things that can hide other images or data that you are not aware of.
An example might be the photo you took of your kids at your home. Now you might have taken that with a normal digital camera, a modern camera which has mobile upload functionality or like the many others in the world you might have taken this with your mobile phone camera.
What happens next is that the image will be stored somewhere. If you chose to store this at home or on a device such as a digital photo frame there aren't going to be too many issues however what happens is if you upload the photos to another storage location or share them via google plus, facebook or another service. In these cases the details stored in the code or meta data within the image can be located and locations and details discovered about you including your precise location when you took the photo. Even your home address can be discovered via your IP address which is basically the unique address each of us have from our router which allows us to use the web.
Interestingly enough some services such as Facebook strip some meta data from the photos you upload before they display them, some services offer you this however remember you ARE STILL actually uploading the information about your location and leaving it up to Facebook etc to strip it for you. However I would be interested to know if that stripped data is stored elsewhere? But the simple fact is that it is YOU that is giving that information in the first place!
However you can stop this.
First stop geo tagging you photos in facebook and other services because that clearly gives away your location (fairly obvious) and next .......
Mobile Upload- Camera or Mobile Phone
To stop the location that the image was taken you simply need to turn off the GPS settings in your device. Although this may be different in each device generally you go to settings and look for GPS and deactivate it.
You may also have to go into the mobile camera settings themselves on mobile devices to ensure location tagging is OFF.
For desktop images you need to 'wash' the image before uploading. This means if you are putting an image onto the web from your desktop you need to remove all the details of the image. To do this you just need to:
- go to your image on windows and right click the image.
- click Details
- Press remove properties and personal information
For MAC users there is a programme called snaps cleaner.
I hope this helps.