Taking a photo using cell phones can compromise your privacy and safety, according to hacker and computer security consultant Brad Haines. Haines warns that many people who take photos with their cell phones and then upload them on to the internet in order to share them with friends and family may be unaware that free software that is widely available online might allow strangers to track down where you are by using GPS information.
“So often we use gadgets that we just do not understand and don’t understand the repercussions,” Haines warns. “The amount of information that people are giving away through these photos, I think people are learning at a very slow rate. I think in general a lot of people are not aware of what their devices are doing.” Haines explains that photos contain EXIF, otherwise known as interchangeable file format, which is essentially data that can be used by other software programs in order to track down precisely where the photo was taken. “Recently, as this issue has gained momentum and more free tools are coming out for people to be able to extract this information and put it into Google Maps. It’s very scary.” Haines can only strongly advise that if people don’t want certain other people to know where they are, they should hesitate before putting photos online where anyone might see them. “We’re so quick to give information away,” Haines admits. “People really need to understand the decisions they are making.”