It’s Time to Reevaluate How You Share Photos

b2ap3_thumbnail_selfie400If you use a smartphone to take personal pictures and post them to the Internet, then you may unknowingly be posting more about yourself than you want to, like where and when the picture was taken. This information in the hands of the wrong person can lead to dangerous consequences, like theft of your property, your identity, or even kidnapping.

This geo-tracking photo technology was intended to be a fun and easy way to organize your photos and share with others the place your picture was taken, but as is the nature of technology, geo-tracking can also be used by the bad guys to accomplish their goals.

What makes geo-tracking photo technology dangerous is how much it can zero in on your location. Pictures snapped with geo-tracking technology will include the same longitude and latitude numbers used by GPS devices. This information is not stamped on the corner of the picture; instead, it’s stored in a data file that can be viewed by right-clicking the image and go to “Properties.”

Every digital picture has a viewable data file that gives information like, when the picture was taken, when it was formatted, what kind of camera was used, and much more. This information can be viewed by anyone who can see the picture. With the location information made by your GPS enabled camera, anybody who can see the image can figure out where your photo was taken. All a predator has to do to find you, is copy and paste the GPS data into basic mapping software, they will then be able to find your location, down what room in your house where the photo was taken.

You may be thinking to yourself, “So what? What’s the big deal if some perv knows which bathroom I took a selfie in?” The danger isn’t from sensitive information being tracked in one profile picture; the danger comes from a stalker piecing together information from all of your posted pictures. If a stalker wanted to, they would be able to use your geo-tracking enabled pictures to know when and where all of your pictures were taken.

Think about a map with little pins in it of when and where you have been, if a stalker had this information, they would then be able to play “connect the dots” and figure out what your weekly routine looks like, including, where you work, where you live, what restaurants and parks you frequent, and even which room is your bedroom. Knowing all of this, the stalker would then be able to predict your next move and know how long you leave your house unattended, or worse, a sexual predator can decipher all of this same information about your children if you post pictures of them online.

Remember, anybody that can view your pictures, can view this information. Think back to all the different social media sites you have posted photos to; any pictures that are viewable to the public are susceptible to being tracked by a stalker. Even if you only allow your Facebook friends to see your photos, your pictures can still be viewed by “friends of your friends,” which means that a stalker would only have to befriend one of your friends to get a window into your life.

Taking control of who sees your digital tracks starts with tightening up your privacy settings. You can tighten up your social media settings so that only the people you trust can see your pictures. You can also disable your camera’s geo-tracking feature through the settings.

If you would like assistance adjusting your camera’s settings and the privacy levels of your social media accounts, then call PACE Technical Services at 905.763.7896. We can walk you through basic steps that you can take to help keep your sensitive information private, and introduce you to security solutions that will prevent stalkers and hackers from accessing your personal information. Don’t let a stalker know too much about you, call PACE Technical Services today!

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