Warnings of Smart Phone Photos Posing Privacy Risks is True

There have been many posts on Facebook and other social networks about the dangers of posting pictures of your children can inform the general public of the exact location of your children.

No matter if you are an extremely cautious parent who never shares your children’s names online or even you are more relaxed about sharing photos of your children with your online networks, this claim will grab your attention.

We were very wary at first to these claims, as so many of these fearful privacy warnings pop up on Facebook and other networks all the time, but Snopes.com lists this statement as true.

This privacy risk, however, is not new. Smart phones and some digital cameras have saved photo information like date, time, and shutterspeed along with geotagged photos for several years. This information is saved in a file called Exif. Geotagging provides precise information about where the photo was taken and attaches it to the image file. This can be a home address or school. People may have shared photos on a social network or blog not necessarily thinking about the geotag information included in the file.

These fears aren’t as prevalent as they were a few years back. Facebook and Twitter now strip most or all Exif file that contains location information from photos when they are uploaded to their sites. This function was added to help increase privacy protection.

If you upload a photo to another site or a blog, it might still contain the the Exif file and all of its information.

The best way to protect your privacy when sharing photos online is to turn off the GPS feature on your phone or camera. If your device doesn’t know where you are, it can’t attach information to that photo. Most phones also offer the option of turning off the geotagging on photos. To remove the geotag on an existing photo you can use an Exif metadata editor, photo editor or converter program that saves photos without the Exif file.

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