The following is a guest post provided by Ben Jackson and Larry Pesce. They are the creators of I Can Stalk U, a website that uses information from geo-tagged photos that have been uploaded to the Internet to expose people's locations. Their goal is to raise awareness about the potential risks of instantly publishing photos that contain location-aware information. The opinions here are theirs only and do not necessarily represent those of CDT.
The combined use of social media, smart phones and location-aware services has recently skyrocketed. A byproduct of this high-tech trio is that people are increasingly posting photos online, because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words - not just 140 characters. However, every digital photo contains data about how it was taken, when it was taken, and sometimes where it was taken. This can be very handy, but when the instant publication of these photos to the Internet is thrown into the mix, it can quickly go from “useful” to “dangerous.” Most people have no idea their pictures contain this kind of information, let alone realize there are ways to manage when it's made public or kept private.
With little effort it's now possible to draw an intimate portrait of a person's life simply by tracking the data these digital images leave "laying around" thanks to the embedded GPS technology and applications that are keen to use a feature called "geo-tagging" as a way to provide people with location-aware information.
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