When an officer deployed in Iraq in 2010, uploaded some video and images showing loading valuable shipments, to different social networking sites little did he realize what he had done. Geotagging was informing potential viewers where he was. Geotagging is a process that adds various geographical identification information into the data. It’s equal to adding a ten digit grid coordinate into the Internet every time an image or video as added in the social networking sites. According to the US military, if they know about the information then consequently the enemy knows about it as well. Moreover, one can see this information with browser plug-ins or other types of software. Information such as the longitude and latitude from where the photograph was taken is embedded directly inside the image.
One other harmful action to take is to do Check-in. This allows users to inform other social network users the business that the user has just invoked Check-in. Facebook’s “Places” and Foursquare are a couple of social networks to do this. Some social networking applications will allow anyone to track users’ movements every day; watching someone long enough, one knows exactly when and where to find that person on any given day (Cambell, 2011).
How can one safeguard against the implications of Geotagging? There are occasions when omitting this feature is important. Never use this feature when at home, schools, hotel rooms and images containing children. One can disable this feature very easily, unfortunately is enabled by default.
TwicPic is an independent service that is integrated with Twitter, a microblogging social too. TwicPic allows users to share photos and in addition information as well. A disadvantage with using TwicPic is that the photos shared more and the images themselves but also PII (Personal Identifiable Information) too. They use a header called EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format). PII can be used to trace users’ name, SSN, biometric data along with other information. One can use software called Picasa to analyze the data that is embedded inside these images. In one test, a script was created to extract the location and the name of the user that poste the image to Twitter (Flinn, n.d.). A url can be used to illustrate how easy it is to extract information from images [ http://pleaserobme.com ]. When posting information on Twitter, the information becomes public and allows someone to determine if that user is or is not at home.
It’s clear from this assignment that users need to be more cognizant of their PII and privacy and how they can prevent this information from being inadvertently published to the Internet. I think it would be helpful if these settings, that allow PII to be embedded in social networking services, are disabled by default.
Flinn, M. (n.d.). Raising Awareness: An Examination of Embedded GPS Data in Images Posted to Twitter. Retrieved from http://iacis.org/iis/2010/432-438_LV2010_1370.pdf
Fumera, G. (2006). Spam Filtering Based on Analysis of Text in Images. Retrieved from http://jmlr.csail.mit.edu/papers/volume7/fumera06a/fumera06a.pdf
Cambell, M. (2011).Mapping Your Life: Embedded Data in Images. Retrieved from http://www.army.mil/article/51268/
Herrick, J. (2012). How to Avoid the Risk of Geotagging. Retrieved from http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-the-Potential-Risks-of-Geotagging
Hoffman, C. (2012). Security Software That Could Protect From Sharing Hidden Data. Retrieved from http://www.techyv.com/questions/security-software-could-protect-sharing-hidden-data
Murphy, K. (2010). Web Photos That Reveal Secrets. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/12/technology/personaltech/12basics.html?_r=0
Solove, D. (2008). Understanding Privacy. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press.