Did you know that GPS tracking data can be recorded when someone takes a picture of you? Browser plug-ins and certain software programs can reveal the geotag location information of your photos and movies to anyone who wants to see it. Location information (GPS tracking system coordinates) stored inside photos can reveal your home address, work address, places you visit often, etc. Geotags can make it very easy for people – friends, family, bosses, spouses, parents – to find out exactly where you are.
Here’s How to Protect Your Privacy:
Modern cameras can track information such as where and when a photo of you was taken and on what type of camera. It is important to make sure that your camera is not revealing more information than you would like. Also be aware when photos of you are uploaded to websites where the public may see such as Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, Craigslist.
For example, you don’t want to advertise something expensive for sale on Ebay and then give away where the item is located (your home). Or another example, there was a story about this in the New York Times a while back about the host of the TV show MythBusters, Adam Savage. Savage posted a picture of his Toyota Land Cruiser on Twitter. The vehicle was parked in front of his house. But what he didn’t realize was that by doing this, he let his fans know much more than he was expecting – he actually revealed exactly where he lived. Embedded in the image was a geotag, a bit of GPS tracking data that provides the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken.
The same thing can happen to any of us because geo-tags are invisible to the naked eye. Geo-tags are part of the meta-data, or underlying data about the data, that accompanies each file. The problem occurs when you or someone you may know are geo-tagging your photos and then uploading them to the internet – especially social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. When social media users take a picture or video and upload it to their page, they are probably transmitting far more data than they think.
How to Protect Your Privacy and Disable Geotagging
iPhone – Go to Settings, General, Location Services. Here you can set which applications can access your GPS coordinates, or disable the feature entirely. If you use your GPS tracking your children’s whereabouts or to find local restaurants and services on the go – then don’t disable the features entirely.
BlackBerry – Click the camera icon, press the Menu button and choose “Options”. Set the “Geotagging” setting to “Disabled”. Save the updated settings.
Android – Open the Camera application, select “Store Location” and set it to “Off”.
Facebook – removes geotags from uploaded photos, however other social networking sites do not. Look into your privacy settings and turn off location sharing.
Your Digital Camera and Mobile Phone – Make sure to turn off the location sharing settings in your camera and mobile phone. Be extra careful if you are uploading photos to a website where strangers will see them — such as Craigslist or Ebay.
Geotagging is when a device such as an iPhone, Android smartphone or digital camera stores your location or geographical information, such as your GPS system coordinates, within a photo or movie file (such as .jpg or .mov files). According to Wikipedia, a geotagged photograph is a photograph which is associated with a geographical location by geotagging. Geotags are useful in helping people find a wide variety of location-specific information. For example, one can find images taken near a given location by entering latitude and longitude coordinates into a suitable image search engine.