Thursday, January 20, 2011

Smartphones with GPS can tag your pictures with the exact PIC location

By Cesar Ortiz
Smartphones GPS chips can tag your shared pictures with the precise location where your picture was taken. Most of the features comes as default "active" on smartphpones and digital cameras. This also applies to pictures taken with modern digital cameras who have GPS features built in. On older digital cameras, geotagging, as it is called, is also used but will provide mostly details of the camera who took the picture, information about the picture name assigned in your PC and date and time the photo was taken. Do you want to share that information with others?  If not, use one of the free geotagg or metadata  viewing software available to see what your camera is tagging in hidden form., I use the one from "Jeffrey's".

If you don't like the hidden information in the picture, remove the metadata or geotagg function from your digital stand alone camera by checking your user manual or vendor.On digital photos already taken, you can edit your picture using a Windows or Mac built in photo editor and remove the metada by hand or buy any of the many #metadata removing tools available in the web.  I use the EXIF Tag Remover Free Trial,  if you decide to buy is $19.95. Your pretty picture taken in your home and posted  in Twitter, Facebook and other social media may be telling the world where do you exactly live. Always assume that a picture you are "sharing" with friends can be intercepted and compromised by posting it somewhere by your friend.

Sadly, there are bad people that look for that type of information. If you comment the photo with "I will be away for such and such days" you are providing an invitation for a burglary. Please notice that disabling Location Services will affect any application that uses GPS. Personally, I don't disable the "Location" option in my devices, I just edit the pictures taken and remove the Geotagg info inserted by Location Services. To remove the  geotagging option or function, (to prevent the device from inserting the info in your picture at all times), on smart phones follow the steps below:

On the Iphone4= Go to Settings, General, Location Service and turn off Geotagging.
On Blackberry with OS6= Go to Options, Device, Location Settings, Location Services, select "Location Off".
On other smart phones the instructions to remove the geotagging function permanently are similar. Check with your phone provider.

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