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Thread: Geo tracking picture myth or true?

  1. #1
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    Geo tracking picture myth or true?

    I was recently told by a friend that with the cameras and cell phone geo-tracking capabilities it is possible for persons with the correct software to gather data from where your picture was taken. Assuming you have the geo-tracking feature turned on in your camera/phone, the person could then id where you have taken the pictures. This might be nice to have if you are snapping pictures of mountains and other scenery and would like to share where the picture was taken at, but letís assume you just snapped a picture of your prize AR and other weapons, on top of that your big screen and entertainment center was in the background. Now the person viewing your posted pictures has a shopping list and a location to enter the coordinates into their GPS and wait for you to leave your house andÖÖÖ. So is it a myth, or is this software real?
    Do you know what you get when you don't get what you want? Experience.

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    It's quite real, although the actual threat of it might be a little overblown, depending on your level of paranoia. Almost all smartphones and many point-and-shoot cameras geotag the photos they take unless you turn the feature off. And the "correct software"? Virtually any photo-editing app will do it, as well as virtually an "preview" application on any computer.

    As to the "myth".....well, just ask the Mythbuster about it...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/te.../12basics.html
    Last edited by Hmac; 02-11-11 at 18:23.

  3. #3
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    My iphone does this but you can turn location services off or just keep it on for only the apps you want. For instance I have it turned off for the camera but on for the weather.com app.



    Technology is at the point that really does away with anonymity or privacy.

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    Here's a spur-of-the-moment example:

    I just took a picture of my gun safe with my iPhone (with Location Services turned on). From the phone I emailed the image to myself. I opened it in my Mac's "Preview" app, its default image viewer. I clicked on the EXIF viewer menu, it brought up this window, I clicked on the GPS tab and got this:




    If I click the "Locate" button at the bottom left, I get the Google map of my house. If I click "Driving Directions"...well, you get the idea.

    This stuff has been around for years. It's amazing how easy it is to forget about the information about ourselves that we're accidentally putting on the web.

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    It does this with digital cameras also?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6933 View Post
    It does this with digital cameras also?
    No, only GPS-enabled devices with a camera, usually phones.

    Rmpl
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    Many models do - but it should be readily apparent on the camera. The number has been increasing ever since Apple added the "Faces and Places" feature to iPhoto in 2008.
    Last edited by Hmac; 02-11-11 at 19:06.

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    just strip out any meta data before you post pics
    a lot of photographers do this for various reasons

    but their are a ton of little programs out their to do this if you want

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    Average folks have become remarkably comfortable with affixing a GPS receiver into electronics that don't need them, and having lax or nonexistant security with devices that can benefit from those.

    Right now, if I were a crook, I'd pick the low lying fruit - the social butterfy ignoramuses who post pictures of everything valuable they own and immediately toss a picture onto an unsecured facebook page alongside pictures of themselves and friends with frequent 'I'm here at this location' updates. There are so many of those, even rudimentary security like basic PerSec and simply wiping metadata or limiting where you post images is enough.

    Just be aware of what devices have GPS, and what applications can access GPS data. I usually have my GPS zeroized (basically), so unless I'm running a service that actively needs a current fix, it's off anyway.
    Last edited by TehLlama; 02-12-11 at 01:37.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TehLlama View Post
    Average folks have become remarkably comfortable with affixing a GPS receiver into electronics that don't need them, and having lax or nonexistant security with devices that can benefit from those.

    Right now, if I were a crook, I'd pick the low lying fruit - the social butterfy ignoramuses who post pictures of everything valuable they own and immediately toss a picture onto an unsecured facebook page alongside pictures of themselves and friends with frequent 'I'm here at this location' updates. There are so many of those, even rudimentary security like basic PerSec and simply wiping metadata or limiting where you post images is enough.

    Just be aware of what devices have GPS, and what applications can access GPS data. I usually have my GPS zeroized (basically), so unless I'm running a service that actively needs a current fix, it's off anyway.

    Look at how FB introduced the "feature" that lets you share your location via smartphone and lets friends tag where you are...
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    Don't post pictures of your shit on the 'net. I usually give some half-ass excuse when people occasionally ask me for pics on the web (like I still use film, which is true), but the real reason is that anything and everything you post on the web is there, forever, and I really don't like that.

    Out of boredom and curiosity I've searched myself and found posts I made 15 years ago on places and about subjects I had totally forgotten about. I found a discussion I had with some Norwegian guy on a listgroup I thought was long dead. For years I couldn't even find mention of the group, then a couple years ago, up it popped in some university server cache.

    Nobody is anonymous on the 'net, it's best to remember that. There is simply no such thing as running silent. You can minimize exposure though, and it is wise to do that.





    I'm sure everyone here is savvy enough to know all of this anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6933 View Post
    It does this with digital cameras also?
    The last P/S camera I bought, a Sony, has GPS....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redmanfms View Post
    Don't post pictures of your shit on the 'net. I usually give some half-ass excuse when people occasionally ask me for pics on the web (like I still use film, which is true), but the real reason is that anything and everything you post on the web is there, forever, and I really don't like that.
    It's easy enough to prevent metadata from being attached to images, but for GPS location it's as easy as just turning it off. They say.

    If you really want to be paranoid, think about, for example, most new HD TVs. They virtually all connect to the internet. Same for most Blu-Rays DVD players. Turn 'em on and they'll search for a wifi connection in your house ostensibly for the reason of updating firmware etc. But, are they really collecting viewing data and sending it to some marketing wonks somewhere? And if you really want to have reason to tighten up your tinfoil, look at the Sony TV's with Presence Sensors. That sensor is actually a camera. Like a web cam. So, you buy a nice 48 inch Sony Bravia for your bedroom. Plug it in. It automatically connects to your wifi...and who knows whether or not there's some little perv at Sony somewhere who has remotely activated that camera? Just sayin'...

    Oops...gotta go, I think I hear a helicopter circling my house. I can't see it because it's black....

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    Any IT guy worth a damn could block this with ease. Monitor your outgoing bandwidth, lock it down. Not a big deal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmac View Post
    It's easy enough to prevent metadata from being attached to images, but for GPS location it's as easy as just turning it off. They say.

    If you really want to be paranoid, think about, for example, most new HD TVs. They virtually all connect to the internet. Same for most Blu-Rays DVD players. Turn 'em on and they'll search for a wifi connection in your house ostensibly for the reason of updating firmware etc. But, are they really collecting viewing data and sending it to some marketing wonks somewhere? And if you really want to have reason to tighten up your tinfoil, look at the Sony TV's with Presence Sensors. That sensor is actually a camera. Like a web cam. So, you buy a nice 48 inch Sony Bravia for your bedroom. Plug it in. It automatically connects to your wifi...and who knows whether or not there's some little perv at Sony somewhere who has remotely activated that camera? Just sayin'...

    Oops...gotta go, I think I hear a helicopter circling my house. I can't see it because it's black....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlelebowski View Post
    Any IT guy worth a damn could block this with ease. Monitor your outgoing bandwidth, lock it down. Not a big deal.
    Of course, people would need to know that there's a need to go out and hire an IT guy that's worth a damn. Geotagging has been around for at least a couple years but it seems to be a big surprise to people in this thread, and a big surprise to Adam Savage.

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    Ok so I'm a retard when it comes to this kind of stuff but I want to learn. Is there a site that has lots of info about how to minimize all this stuff that is being discussed in this thread? Also, in regards to cell pictures, the "location" on my phone has two settings, "On" or "E911 Only". I have it set to the second so should my pics be secure?
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