Smartphone Pictures Pose Privacy Risks
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Smartphone pictures you’ve e-mailed or uploaded could be leaking location information, and placing your children in potential danger! This is the scary information that this NBC news video about smartphone pictures reveals.
UMKC computer science Professor Deep Medhi explained that when you send smartphone pictures, they leave a high-tech invisible trail using the same geo-tracking technology that enables the social website Foursquare and handheld map apps. “Exactly like in your GPS device in your car,” Medhi said. “When you do it, it can tell you exactly where it is.”
Medhi demonstrated how the easily-obtained software can translate geo-tagged photos, uploaded or linked from popular websites, into maps, and pinpoint the exact location where the smartphone pictures were taken! This included identifying the home, bedroom, daycare center, school and even the exact location in a particular park where a child played.
Keeping your smartphone pictures private:
There are two steps to take to keep your smartphone pictures private. The first is to deactivate the geo-tagging feature on your phone. The site icanstalku.com shows how to deactivate geo-tagging on the iPhone, Blackberry with GPS, Google Android, and Palm WebOS. The site recommends restricting which applications can access GPS marking, or turning off Location Services altogether, in your smartphone settings.
- Go to “Settings”—to where your GPS is controlled
- Find “Location Services” (Turning this off will turn off your GPS also) OR
- Go to “Camera” and turn OFF (This will turn off the tracking feature for the camera only)
The second step to take is to keep your on-line photo servers settings restricted to “Private.”
Experts say that taking these 2 steps can make it safe to continue sending smartphone pictures.
Do you send out smartphone pictures? Do you feel there is a risk and the need to take these precautions?