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Photos Taken on Your Phone May Reveal your Location to Others

By: Al Knox - Email
By: Al Knox - Email

Its something many of us day on a daily basis and don’t even think twice about. Taking pictures of ourselves, or our loved ones before weighing possible repercussions of doing so.

In this high-tech age of smart phones and social networking, most of us realize we're giving up a certain amount of privacy. But experts tell us the average technology user is giving up far more information than they realize.

Assistant Professor of Media at UW Stevens Point, Tim Krause says, “You’re not just posting that photograph you're also clearly indicating where you are at any given time."

It’s called geotagging, and uses the same technology that is in car GPS units. Chances are your smartphone's doing it without you even knowing. Once you take a photo and post it to sites, like twitter, anyone can check hidden information in that photo.

Kraus says, "When you upload those photos to your profile all of the geotagged information goes along with it.” Anyone who knows how to access that hidden information, called metadata, can find your exact GPS coordinates, and even the exact time each picture was taken.

If this sounds scary to you, there are ways you can protect your information. Your smartphone will have a setting to turn the camera's GPS tracking off, or you can turn off all GPS services. But be warned, that will turn off your navigation services too.

In the end, it’s your decision which location tracking services you want your phone to use. But if you don't change any settings, privacy becomes a thing of the past.


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