Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Dangers in GeoTagging (& How to remove them)

Whilst on my recent travels I was consciously trying to geotag every photo I took, which involved a bit of work for those taken on my DSLR (Pentax D20), but it was automatic for my new smartphone (HTC Wildfire). Almost everything I took with the phone had the location embedded in the EXIF metadata. Then I got thinking most cameraphone (eg IPhone) users would not even realize this and there are a lot of situations where they probably don’t want their location published, but this is exactly what happens if you then post one of these photos on the internet. There are two simples solutions too this

1) Turn automatic geotagging off in your camera phone (look under camera settings, it might refer to location rather than geotagging).image

2) Use Picasa to manage (and remove) geotags

To remove a geotag in Picasa, Select the geotagged photos.

  1. Click the Places button in the lower right corner of Picasa.
  2. Click the red geotag icon on the map.
  3. Click 'Erase location info.'

This both removes any longitude and latitude information from the photo's EXIF GPS metadata  and also removes your photo from the Picasa map. REMEMBER TO DO THIS BEFORE YOU UPLOAD YOUR PHOTO TO THE WEB!

If you look towards the end of the Wikipedia Geotagging Article you will find a more detailed discussion on the dangers of geotagging. Whilst I am still a big fan of geotagging photos, where appropriate, I feel it is important that everyone understands the privacy issues exposed by this technology.

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