News

The danger in sending photos from your phone

Anyone who sees your digital photos, can trace your whereabouts and your children's too!

The latest phones on the market now compete to have the best cameras and video facilities.  Each device having bigger storage capacity and unlimited access to the internet with great links to social media sites such as facebook, Twitter etc.  But have you considered the dangers associated with sending photo's from a mobile phone?

You may have seen programmes where the police have tracked peoples movements by their phone records, or you may simply use a map feature to find your way around town.  Nearly every mobile device on the market today has a GPS feature that most of us never consider configuring.

The GPS feature has saved many of us from getting lost, and using apps on some of the phones actually lets you track where your phone is if you lose it.  Now lets consider one of the disadvantages - it can also let other people know where your mobile phone was when you took that innocent photo, if you let it.

Geotagging

This is information that isn't visible to the user by default but is easily accessible using free browser addons or photographic software. It usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, distance, accuracy data, and place names as well as information about your camera/phone.

Anyone who sees your digital photos, can work out where you were when you took the photo, and when.  Suddenly that innocent photo of your child in their bedroom becomes a target for stalkers.

Most people I know usually take a photo on their phones and upload it at the same time as later in the day to some social media site or other without thinking about what data is associated with it.  If you have children, or grandchildren, maybe its time to start taking  control of the devices you now use.

This technology isn't new, neither is the risk, if you are reading this information for the first time chances are someone has already looked at the geotagging data on some of the photo's you've posted - take control of your online activity - be responsible.

A viral link is spreading a video from NBC News on facebook referring to a website called www.icanstalku.com which has now closed down.

Twitter and Facebook (shown in the video) now strip any Exif data from photographs on upload (meaning if you had copyright details on them it is now gone) however blogs, flickr, wordpress sites etc are still at risk.

The video is old (2010), some social media sites have adapted since then but not all - be safe, configure your device securely to prevent making a mistake in the future.