Photos include more than just memories

iphone_6Keeping up with privacy settings is a daunting task that many don’t bother to attempt. In a world where everyone’s connected somehow, and with lackadaisical privacy standards, we’re also all traceable – a reality that has implications for individuals’ safety.

Each picture taken with a smart phone has location information embedded in its data file, unless the location services that are enabled by default have been turned off.

Smart phones embed information such as the latitude and longitude of where an image was taken. This leaves an invisible trail to the exact spot the shutter was snapped. This sounds handy if you’re fuzzy on a few memories and want some help, but when it comes to taking pictures of children at their home, school or friends’ houses, this information can be revealing to potentially dangerous people.

Smart phones are equipped with hardware that automatically adds the geographic location to each photo. Once this photo is uploaded to the Internet, anyone can access that information and pinpoint where the photo was taken. Some people, with the right software, could even map out the exact location in a building the picture is taken, i.e. a child’s bedroom or classroom.

To turn the geo tagging off — go to the location services on any smart phone and turn off the GPS controls to the phone or specifically to the camera app.

For step by step instructions on how to turn off location services click here.