Many people have been enjoying the benefits and capabilities of Geotagging; but in a recent article in the New York Times, photobloggers and the like are reminded of the dangers posed by the new technology if used improperly. Find out what the problem is and how to safe guard yourself after the jump.
Geotagging, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a relatively new technology built into many smart phones with GPS capabilities as well as more advanced digital cameras. Encrypted in the photos you take is data that describes in exacting detail the location the photograph was taken. The danger comes from the possibility for complete strangers to view that data from a photograph you posted online (especially those taken at your house depicting your tech or family). Worse yet, after people accidentally divulge this private information they also mention when they'll be on vacation or away for an extended period of time allowing thieves the perfect window of opportunity to steal.
Thankfully, you can easily safeguard yourself by knowing exactly how to disable Geotagging. The website icanstalku.com provides detailed instructions on how you can turn off the Geotagging feature on your smart phone. Some proactive sites are also doing their best to protect you. Flickr has enabled a filter that prevents the upload of a Geotagged picture unless you specifically allow it to.
If you're on a Mac and are interested in seeing all of your Geotagged photographs in a single place, open iPhoto with your images loaded in the application and select "Places" on the sidebar. This will load up a world map pinpointing the exact location each photograph was taken.
Geotagging is an amazing tool and can be highly useful while vacationing or trying to find where you parked the car but it can quickly turn dangerous if you're unaware of its presence and power. Many people in our community are already well aware of the benefits and issues regarding Geotagging and we apologize if this may seem redundant to some. We felt the potentially dangerous consequences, however, justified the fair warning to all of our readers.
If you're interested in protecting your privacy further, check out some of our other articles helping you stay safe: