Why should you care about this technology? Well, that snapshot of you in your living room might be all it takes for someone that you don’t want to know where you live to find your home. A picture of you standing in front of your priceless oil painting or collection of valuable knickknacks lets potential thieves know you have things worth stealing. A criminal only has to check for the geotag and now he has you and your property in his sight. They can then watch your postings and activities to find out when you aren’t home and break in.
So, why does geotagging exist if it seems to be only useful to people whom do harm? While geotagging has been shown to be an infringement on the general public’s privacy, the use of geotagging can be quite useful. If a GPS enabled smartphone user googles an Italian restaurant while out of town, the nearest Italian restaurant (with geotagging metadata) to their actual location will be the first thing to pop up on their phone’s browser. This can be amazingly helpful. GPS indicators also can help law enforcement find you should you need them.
Remember in February, when a site called Please Rob Melaunched to expose the privacy flaws of social media? The argument was this: if you’re checking into a location, like a restaurant, you’re broadcasting to the world that you’re not home.
iPhones and iPads are automatically storing location data and uploading the file with the information whenever the device is synced.
Alasdair Allan, senior research fellow in astronomy at the University of Exeter, and writer Pete Warden say they have found evidence that the iPhone, 3G iPad, and backups on users’ computers contain detailed location information, including latitude, longitude, and time stamps, that show where the mobile devices have been. In addition, the information is “unencrypted and unprotected, and it’s on any machine you’ve synched with your iOS device,” they claim.
However, the claims made by Allan and Warden are a bit different. For one, in their findings, users don’t know that they’re being tracked. Moreover, exactly why that information is reportedly being tracked is unknown at this point. And as they rightly noted, “cell phone companies have always had this data, but it takes a court order to access it.”
Using the built-in GPS, phone camera applications can embed the latitude and longitude of a location in photos. Coordinates aren’t shown in your photo library, but if you post a geotagged pic online, someone with an evil motive can easily extract the photo’sEXIFdata and find out where you live, eat, or hang out.
Creepy, right? This is a big security risk, especially for parents who post photos of their children online. So if you want to disable geotagging on your Android, iPhone, or BlackBerry phone, check out this How To:
Special article devoted to showing people how to disable geotagging.
Having testedall the latest GPS-enabled compact megazooms, I can tell you that holding onto a signal isn’t easy, particularly in a city. Casio’s Hybrid GPS in its Exilim EX-H20G announced today looks like it is up to task, though.
The Hybrid GPS system combines a GPS receiver with a motion sensor that allows for autonomic positioning. Should you lose your signal, a three-way accelerometer and a three-way direction sensor combine to keep track of your movements in relation to the last coordinate received. The camera can then continue to track and geotag your photos even if you’re indoors. It’ll continue to search for a signal every 10 minutes until it connects to a satellite and updates your location.
Basically, a lot of nerdy technical stuff to bring you very precise geotags on more of your photographs.
Video for Buttons application. Camera app that doesn’t take a photograph but displays an image taken at the same time you pushed the shutter button or a photograph taken at an earlier moment in time at the same place (34s).