Geotagging: What You Should Know About Giving Out Personal Info Without Knowing

 

eye pic

Do you know what Geotagging is? Let’s start with “selfies”. These are the pictures that we take of ourselves and love to post to our favorite social networks for all to see. People post selfies everyday on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+…from the average Joe to the hottest celebrities. When we aren’t posting selfies we may post pics of ourselves with family, friends, or others who just happen to be at an event we’re attending. The pics show the world of social media how good of a time we’re having and how great life is at the moment. It may be a picture of you and others at the beach on vacation, out at a downtown party, or a “foodie” pic you took of what you’re eating at your favorite restaurant. Oh and what about those adorable pics we LOVE to post of our kids? You know…the ones that get at least 20-30 likes because they’re just soooo cute? We love to post all of these pictures without any regard to what geotagging is. What many do not realize is that this lack of awareness can be a very SERIOUS issue.

Geotagging, according to www.icanstalku.com, is the storage of location-based data in the form of latitude and longitude information inside of images; it essentially tags your photos with geographic location of where the photo was taken. So say for example you take a “selfie” in your bedroom and post it to Facebook. You get some likes, comments, and life goes on in the world of social media, right? Well, are you aware that the photo you posted also contains in the metadata the latitude and longitude information of where the photo was taken, which could give a total stranger the exact address to your home?? Yes, that’s right…and scary. With the right software, a total stranger could extract the location information from your posted photo and show up at your doorstep anytime. The availability of this information is very common with Smartphones, which come equipped with cameras that contain the hardware to automatically add location information to pictures as they are taken. While this feature can be disabled, many times it is set by default to be enabled. Therefore, you may be taking and posting numerous pictures on social media without even realizing that you are potentially putting out there the geographic location of your home, your child’s school, your favorite restaurant, places you typically hang out at….enough information for a total stranger to know way too much about your life.

You can disable geotagging on your phone typically by going to your location settings and disabling the GPS feature. But this will turn off GPS functionality for all applications even where the use is legitimate. For more specific disabling, in many phones you can also go directly into your camera’s settings and disable the geotag feature. What’s pictured is where I disabled this feature on my phone, which is an Android. I would suggest doing your research to determine how to disable this for the exact phone you have. You can also check the icanstalku.com site for more information on this and the risks associated with geotagging.

 Screenshot_2014-04-01-10-50-42

As A Social Tech Diva, I am always striving to not only provide you with great information on my blog but also information that REALLY MATTERS. This topic is one that really struck me when I first learned of it considering I’ve always loved posting pictures on social media and thought little of it. I still post pictures on social media but, as shown in the picture, have disabled geotagging on my phone. But with the evolution of technology I’m sure there will be another way for people to determine your location based on your social media posts. So all I can suggest is to be careful and keep yourself informed as much as possible so that you can be well aware of the potential risks out there. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

About Keke

I'm a wife, mother, IT career woman, MBA, fun, loving person who enjoys wearing multiple hats and living life to the fullest. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and have been working in the field of technology for over a decade, which I enjoy very much. Additionally, I'm passionate about fitness and eating well so I'm always researching related topics and enjoy sharing this information with others. My blog merges the things I'm passionate about by turning these topics into what I hope you find are interesting blog posts. So glad you stopped by and hope to see you back here soon!

2 comments on “Geotagging: What You Should Know About Giving Out Personal Info Without Knowing

Wanna leave a reply for A Fitness Tech Diva?