What Everyone Should Know About Geotagging
Modern conveniences and devices often make life easier, but sometimes features that seem helpful could pose a danger. One such feature is called “geotagging,” and it’s a common feature on today’s smartphones. The reason geotagging poses a threat is the feature may broadcast the smartphone user’s location to unintended parties.
Criminals, stalkers and thieves could use geotagging information to learn a significant amount about an intended target, which could undermine steps taken to remain safe with a Trinidad security system, surveillance cameras and control access measures.
How Geotagging Works
GPS photo tagging technology was originally developed for the military, but it’s become a common feature on consumer electronics like navigation systems in vehicles as well as smartphones and even digital cameras. Shortened to the word geotagging, the process embeds information on latitude and longitude into the photograph. The technology can even offer information on altitude.
Each time a user takes a digital photo on a device that features geotagging there is a large amount of information included with the file within the “Exchangable Image File Format” header. Not only are basic details about the photo, such as focal length and exposure, embedded within this file, but information like the time and date, as well as latitude and longitude information, may be included.
A GPS receiver in a camera or smartphone utilizes the Global Positioning System, which is a series of 27 satellites that orbit the earth. A GPS capable device will talk to three or four of these satellites to confirm an exact location on the planet.
Dangers of Geotagging
Geotagging may allow a thief to figure out when a family is on vacation, which offers significant temptation for a burglar who will have all the time in the world to figure out a way past the control access system because he knows that nobody is home. Photographs that include location information that are uploaded to social media websites also give criminals or stalkers clues to a victim’s location.
An innocent picture taken of a child sitting at the dinner table enjoying birthday cake could include enough location data to provide a child abductor all the information he needs to figure out where the family lives. Another risk of geotagging is that a stalker could figure out a victim’s movements and catch the person when they weren’t at home with their Trinidad security system engaged.
Turning off Geotagging
It’s simple to deactivate the GPS feature on a smartphone or any other device that talks to satellites, and looking at the settings in the phone will usually provide a toggle for turning location data on or off. Unfortunately, new phones often come with GPS and location tracking activated, so it’s up to the user to shut this feature off.
Geotagging on an iPhone can be deactivated through the general tab of the phone’s settings and geotagging on an Android-based phone can be disabled through the settings on the phone’s camera. Digital cameras often have a different procedure, so taking a look at the manual is the best way to figure out how to turn this feature on and off.
Geotagging may be a helpful tool or feature in certain circumstances, but it’s not a feature that smartphone users should leave on by default on a device. It’s best to keep geotagging activity to a minimum and utilize this feature only in rare circumstances.