Geotagging, a compromise of safety and privacy

Posted by Jilian Yong

After the launch of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the social networking phenomenon as a whole has millions of people across the globe sharing their photos, videos of their favorite songs and posting little details about their lives. To be honest, many of us are unconcerned about our privacy. For all of you out there thinking you have got it under control. Think twice.

Let’s say your parents just bought a new car for your birthday. And your initial reaction is, “I can’t wait to post a picture of my brand new ride!” Of course, you would expect a dozen of comments flooding your Facebook or Twitter page, but for all you know, you’re also letting others know much more than just your extravagant birthday gift.

Geotag, is a program which allows you to match information of the time or date with photos with location from a map or a GPS unit. In other words, if the picture you have taken of your new car was embedded with geotag, you have just provided the location of where the picture was taken. Hence, you have revealed to potential stalkers and thieves to where you live. Adam Savage, host of the popular program “MythBusters”, had been a victim in the past.

Most of the photos or videos taken by smartphones like Androids that are equipped by GPS and digital cameras are embedded with geotags. The concern here is that the location data cannot be seen, that is why many people are compromising their safety and privacy when they upload geotagged media online. is a Web site that reveals multiple people that were stalked because of geotags.But do not fear, they provide instructions to help disable the geotagging function. The founder of is featured in this video about the dangers of geotagging.

Photo by TechWire

You are more than welcome to enjoy networking and sharing photos, but how do we decide what to share and what not to? What do you think?


4 responses to “Geotagging, a compromise of safety and privacy

  1. Great post, Jilian. I agree, people aren’t as concerned with privacy as they should be. With the rise of social media, people are sharing and sharing…and even over-sharing. The Web is a useful tool for communicating and obtaining information, but it can certainly be utilized for malice. Hopefully people will become more informed about the dangers associated with sharing sensitive information on the Internet.

  2. I had no idea this type of thing even existed! Thanks a lot for that! I went to the ICanStalkU website and followed their instructions to disable my phone’s camera location just now. This is very scary and I feel like people definitely need to be more informed about this. Very informative!

  3. I agree with Kylie–this is really scary! I had no idea my phone could do this stuff. I checked the site’s instructions as well, and thankfuIly, only my GPS was enabled. I realized the technology is available, but I don’t understand why people would want to share so much information with the world. Facebook and Twitter have recently added “location” options with posts. Things like that–andd FourSquare–in general make me uneasy.

  4. I agree with Jeff’s comment. While I’m on FourSquare, I don’t update where I am constantly – especially when it comes to me being back in my apartment. Maybe it’s just because I live alone, but now I’m more aware that social media of any kind leaves me more susceptible to being watched. Whenever I’m on twitter and it asks for a location, I feel uneasy. I legitimately do not believe that we should care where everyone is at any given moment of time. Sure, Mrs. Weasley had her magical clock for her family, but we don’t need that in the real world.

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