Not many people know how much information is attached to the photos that they take and put online. This is called exif data. Depending on the device taking the photo this can range from the device model to the name of the owner and the GPS location the photo was taken.
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Most social media sites scrub this data before you photo is attached to your profiles or posted but you should not depend on them to do it or count on it to to work. In addition you are still submitting this information to them to do with as they please or sell to whoever they please.
Recently we came across a post craigslist when searching the cars for sale for a client. We saved a picture to send them and when we went into our photos app the photo was organized by location. This is because the camera/phone that took the picture had GPS location turned on and embedded the data into the picture file. A criminal could take this information and potentially use it to find the location of the car or where the owner lives in order to steel the car or otherwise target the owner.
Make sure you scrub this information from your pictures before you put them online or send them to anyone (you don’t know what they are going to do with it after you send it to them.) There are may methods that you can use to do this but the most reliable is a dedicated app. There are both mobile and desk top apps made specifically for this purpose.
Screen Shot Method: Open the picture full screen on your device and take a screen shot. This essentially duplicates the picture and none of the original exif data is present. You still however may have some exif data attached but it will almost always be less.
Messenger Method: Some secure messengers will wipe data from files that you send to others. You can then re-download the file from the message thread and the exif data will be gone. Test your messenger with a thread to someone you trust to make sure the data is removed before relying on this method.
New apple IOS Spoofing: Newer apple devices and some that have received recent updates, now allow you to manually change or add certain exif data that is attached to images on the device. This is intended to organization and data base use for individuals who take a lot of photos and video but can just as easily be used to spoof certain data for security and disinformation purposes.
Desktop/Mobile Apps: Dedicated apps can be found on all platforms mobile and desktop for the specific purpose of removing exif data but just like with the messengers, test and verify before you rely on anything.
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