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Thanks to geotagged photos, are you sharing too much?

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Posted February 18, 2014

Whipping out your smartphone to snap and post online pictures of yourself and your kids relaxing at home – or perhaps that pricey new TV you just hung on your rec-room wall – is like throwing chum to a sea of hungry sharks.

That’s because smartphone images can be deciphered to reveal precisely where the photos were taken, which security experts say could lead burglars and other criminals directly to your front door. Similarly, they add, posting images from vacation sites or your workplace could invite crooks to ransack your house while you’re away.

“That can be sharing a bit too much,” said Con Mallon, senior director of mobility at security firm Symantec. “They can then put the location of where you are now and where your house is into a maps program and work out how much time they have to pay a visit while you’re out.”

Smartphone photos are embedded with “geotags” containing the latitude and longitude. This data isn’t visible to the naked eye. But when deciphered with the help of photo-sharing websites, various apps or other methods, those coordinates can enable someone using Google Maps to identify the precise spots depicted in the images.

That also makes the technology useful, for example, for someone with scads of photos who can’t otherwise remember where some of them were taken. And sharing geotagged photos online has become so commonplace, many people hardly give it a second thought.

Read more at: Phys.org

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