Your pictures tell where you are


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The vast majority of recent model digital cameras and phones which have cameras support tagging the images with GPS data as well as previously recorded information such as time, date, camera settings (shutter speed, f-stop, etc.), etc.  Most people don’t even know this information is recorded in the image or aren’t paying attention to it if they do.

“Bad” people can use this information to see where you are and when.  If you take enough pictures of where you are and what you are doing, these same people can use the information to know when you are likely not going to be home and then go about the business of relieving you of your possessions (you didn’t need them anyway, right?).

Why would you want this information in the picture anyway?  This information is useful for you own personal cataloging.  You can use the GPS feature (called geotagging) to document where you were when you took the picture.  You could even intentionally share this information by uploading your pictures to Panoramio, the service which provides images in Google Earth.  The camera information is useful to other photographers who are curious as to what you used to take the picture.

However, if you are uploading your pictures carelessly to Flikr or your favorite social networking site, you could be leaving yourself open to who knows what kind of stalker.  The can be especially dangerous if there is a reason you should be hiding from someone!

The good news is that you should be able to disable the geotagging feature of your phone or camera (some instructions can be found here, but you should check your device’s documentation for details).

My opinion is that the younger set are going to be least likely to be worried about this, but they should be.  They are growing up in a world with no privacy and don’t understand how important it can be to have some.  We need to teach them why its important to not share every little detail (such as where we’ve been and when) about our lives.

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