Taking Photos Could Put You At Risk


If you’re like many smartphone users, you’re posting images to Facebook, Picasa and other social-media networks. But did you know that the photos you upload could be putting you at risk? That’s because your smartphone is equipped with technology that can allow hackers to find out where you live, or where you’re uploading from.

Here’s how it works: Smartphones have geolocation technology that tags photos with the location. Criminals can look at the information coded into those files and find out where you live, work or play (wherever you were when you took the picture). When the criminal zeroes in on the area where he lives to find images of children, all he has to do is click on the photo and select View Image Info to find out exactly where the photo was taken.

An NBC Action News report being circulated on YouTube offers an example in which news reporters were able to use the geolocation technology to not only locate a child’s home, but also her bedroom, her day-care facility, a fast-food restaurant the family visits, and the specific area of a park where the child plays. Although it requires a browser plug-in to fully translate the photo information into something useful, the danger is there, and very real.