Wednesday 23 July 2014

Your Online Pictures of Cats May Tell Us Where You Are

Your Online Cat Photos Tell Others Where You Are | PoC

These days pictures of cats taken with smart phones and modern digital cameras contain metadata which is information about the photograph such as the shutter speed, whether flash was used, the aperture and also where the photograph was taken using a built-in global satellite system (GPS).

When you upload the photograph to a Instagram or Flickr or any one of the large photo hosting websites the metadata goes with the picture and in the case of Flickr, for example, the information is set out on the page where the photograph is.

There are millions of photographs with this data attached to them and an entrepreneurial professor, Owen Mundy, at the University of Florida has extracted the GPS metadata and built a website around it which uses Google mapping to show the location of the photographs on a map. Very often the pictures of cats are taken by the cat's owner and also very often the cat's owner is in the photograph with the cat either because it's a selfie or her spouse took the photograph.

As a result, pictures of cats uploaded to the Internet can tell others where you are, where you live etc.. It could be argued that this is a an invasion of privacy. It is another example of Big Brother looking down upon you and every move you make. Most of us won't care about it but some will, particular the rich I suspect as it weakens there security.

You can actually remove the metadata online using using Yahoo™.

It works well and it works quickly and you can then upload the photograph to your chosen photo hosting website afterwards.

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