Cell Phone Pictures Contain Meta EXIF Location Information Warning - Facebook Rumour

13 Aug 2013 - Article No: 1758. Filed under: Facebook Scams | Facebook Rumour

"Warning" If you, your kids or grand kids take pics from your phone---WATCH THIS! This is truly alarming - please take the time to watch. At the end they`ll tell you how to set your phone so you do...

Messages are spreading across Facebook that link to a news video explaining the dangers of taking photos from smartphones as the images contain data that allow people to find out where the photos were taken.

The news video is based on truth. When you take a photo and upload it to your computer or the Internet the photo contains hidden information called meta information (or metadata, or EXIF tags) that contains information about the photo such as the device used to take it and the date (and time) it was taken.

If a photo is taken from a GPS enabled device such as a smartphone then the location of the photo may very well be included in the photos metadata (the “meta geolocation”). Often the metadata is easily extracted from a photo using any type of software that allows you to access it. If you upload photos of children onto the Internet then this can obviously be of concern.

However it is worth noting that the news article appears to have been made many years ago and many aspects of the warning are outdated. The warning fails to mention that some of the most popular social networking sites now remove the metadata from photos uploaded to their site meaning it cannot be accessed by people who can see the photo. Facebook and Twitter both prevent a photos metadata from being accessed.

However many sites (or email) do not remove the information and if you do not want your photos carrying any such geolocation information at all then all smartphones will include ways of restricting the GPS settings and thus preventing photos from including information about the location where they were taken. Or if you have already taken the photos and want to remove any personal information before you put them on the Internet or send them through email then you can remove the metadata within Windows by following the instructions here.

And most importantly remember that if you upload photos on the Internet, especially photos of your children, then it is vital to proactively ensure that no one who shouldn’t see them can – this means using a sites privacy controls to ensure that only trusted friends can access the photos.

Bottom line – the threat is real but the news video is outdated and omits important and relevant information.

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