View Full Version : Digital photos can reveal your location, raise privacy fears

10-18-2010, 01:12 PM

Images often contain a bundle of information and various traces left by digital cameras or photo manipulation software.

This data, called Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF), is a key tool for many professionals. It can detail whether the photographer used a flash, which digital effects were applied to a picture and when the photo was taken.

EXIF can also contain the precise GPS coordinates for where a photo was taken. This information is readily accessible and can be plugged into software such as Google Maps -- leading some security and photography experts to express concerns about amateurs unknowingly disclosing private information, such as the location of their home.

Makes me glad my camera doesn't do that!

10-18-2010, 02:05 PM
I GPS tag all of my photos, except for my home and any personally identifiable home and other special locations where someone might be harmed in some way via the physical location data in one of my photos. I agree with Thomas Hawk, quoted in the article, about the problems with that kind of identification.

That being said, for travel photos, for example, having their location is a fabulous too.

Great article Annette. Thanks. I've sent much deserved rep your way.

10-18-2010, 07:34 PM
Why is it that every great new technology has to have a down side to it?

10-18-2010, 08:18 PM
Why is it that every great new technology has to have a down side to it?

Is it the technology that has a down side, or is it how people use or rather misuse it? I think it's the latter.

Technology can provide impressive and amazing tools, but people have to use their intelligence, knowledge, commonsense and sagacity when utilizing those tools.

10-19-2010, 04:30 AM
Exactly, its not so much the tagging, its how its used.

When I posted my wedding pictures on Picasa, with permissions configured so that you had to have the link to find them, one of my wife's friends started uploading them to Facebook and began tagging all of them. We had to ask her to remove them (other than the ones of her and her hubby).