During the holiday season, people are constantly posting family photos online, especially photos that contain kids. Sure, you think your kids are the most adorable out there, but do you really want the entire world to have access to these pictures? Do you want everyone to know where you live? …and did you know this? When you put photos like this online, pedophiles and predators can get your GPS coordinates by checking EXIF data.
You might want to put up a photo of your kids and dog opening their gifts on Christmas morning or you and your spouse toasting the New Year, but creeps can easily access the exact location each of these photos were taken, and it’s easier to do than you might think.
How is something like this possible? Each time you take a photo with a digital camera or a smart phone, it creates something called EXIF data, of “exchangeable image file format.” EXIF data essentially geotags your photo with the GPS coordinates of where you took the image.
If you remove this data, however, the bad guys can’t see where you are located. However, you have to do this for each and every new photo you want to post online.
How to Remove the EXIF Data
Here are the steps that you should take to remove the EXIF data:
- Locate the picture on your iPhone.
- Open it, and tap the Share button.
- Tap on Options and in the next pane (up top), toggle off Location and/or All Photos Data.
From Google Play download the free app Photo Metadata Remover
- First, right click on the image.
- Choose “Properties” to see the data, which should include the time and date that the image was taken.
- Click “Details.”
- Click “Remove Properties and Personal Information.” This is where you delete the EXIF data.
- You might be confused because you don’t see longitude and latitude here, but rest assured, it’s there. All you have to do to see it is to download an EXIF reader.
- You can make a copy of the image, which will remove data, or you can manually delete the data.
Download and run ImageOptim software for Mac
Remember, you have to delete this before you post the photo on the internet. You also might want to consider going back and doing this for all of the photos you have posted.
Obviously, doing this before you post a photo is the easiest way to go about protecting your information, and it will make you much more selective on what you put on social media, as you probably don’t want to have to go through these steps each and every time you post.
Here are some additional tips:
- Turn off the GPS option on your camera
- Check out the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Who can see it? Can a stranger?
- Also, remember, that if you post on one network, like Instagram, the photo might also appear on another network, like Facebook, which has different settings.
This is one of those things that people just don’t even realize is happening. Don’t worry but do something about it now. If you have a lot of photos online, you might be panicking. It’s probably okay, but make sure you change your habits going forward. Also, if you know anyone who posts a lot of personal photos online, make sure they know about this, too.