All too often I see things shared on sites such as Facebook and Twitter in where scare tactics are being used. One of the most recent articles is the word press blog with a story titles as “WARNING!!!! If you take photos with your cell phone” (which is no longer available) Funny, who doesn’t take pictures with their cellphones?
The reason I’m picking this story in particular is because it is using a video of a News Channel put out in 2010 that did not seem to get vetting and only aided in scare tactics, perhaps for ratings? Simply, a blog is trying to generate money using an old article and it spreads like wildfire.
When posting pictures to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – the pictures are stripped of the geolocation data and all phones give a notification and by default turn-off geolocation tagging.
The only instance where you should be worried is if you send the raw picture file via email or a site that hosts the raw file. Even Imgur removes geolocation.
If you want to find out what gets tagged, test for yourself. Don’t forward nitwitted technically inept source of news from a blog trying to garner traffic for ad revenue. The speed of recognizing garbage is too fast nowadays.
Now to debunk the video. All sites listed (Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter) automatically remove the geotagging EVEN if you forget the disable the feature on your phone. On top of it, both the latest versions of Android and Apple iOS make it an opt-in feature that you have to select.
With that being said, privacy is important so I will share some tips and things to check for to be weary about.
Third-party apps that can take pictures have the ability to use the camera and CAN turn use the geotagging, which only a clever eye will catch that at the install point. So treat all apps that use the camera as being possible to do so. If you are worried about people finding your location, be much more mindful about what is actually in the picture and not the metadata itself.
If you want to be curious and try to find out where someone lives, go through their profile and start making a mental note of things such as license plates, street names, house types and you can then socially engineer this with their city on Facebook or other status messages. Use Google Streetview then find the front of their house and car. This is what you should be more worried about!
– Jonathan Finney, @wifispy, Wireless Network Architect at Confidential Healthcare Company (Contractor)
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