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Author Topic: Geotagging: Something to be careful with  (Read 8704 times)

Jon Hodgson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2011, 08:56:13 am »

MagnetoSound wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 13:34

Jon Hodgson wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 13:01

Your phone is a far more effective way of tracking you.



Yes, I thought we were talking about phones.




In the context of the OPs post, the phone part is irrelevant, because we're talking about the metadata added to the photo file, which many cameras do as well as camera phones, and this info isn't transmitted unless you upload the picture. If the geotagging is extended to transmitting your current position and tracking everywhere you go (without at least a court order being in existence to switch it on and security measures to limit who gets access to the info), then that would be a different matter.

However I think most people are aware that they can be tracked to some degree through their phones, even without GPS.

Incidentally, Apple proudly proclaim the geotagging feature in their info, HTC list it in the specs, like I said, nobody's hiding it, it's not really their fault if the users don't read the info or think about the consequences.
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ktownson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2011, 09:32:35 pm »

I don't think it's evil--I just want people to know what their phones are reporting.

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Hallams

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2011, 06:24:10 am »

Jon Hodgson wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 01:22

MagnetoSound wrote on Sat, 08 January 2011 12:01


You think this is down to the programmers, really?


Come on, think about it. This is covert tracking. Who would do that?


I'm glad I'm not paranoid.  Wink





It's not covert, since it's not hidden, it's just the result of various things interacting into something that people either didn't think about, or thought was somebody else's responsibility (the photo owners)

!) Camera Manufacturer - Geotagging is a useful feature for photos for a lot of people, GPS is now ubiquitous and cheap, cool we'll add it as a feature to our camera to sell more.

2) Photo Website - We let people upload their photos so they can show them to other people, we just do a simple upload and download of everything including metadata because that's the easiest thing to do, if the user wants to change or remove metadata, that's their job before uploading

3) Google maps - we provide a facility where people can put in coordinates and get a place on the map

All three perfectly reasonable and innocent things, which unfortunately can add up to a bad combination if you add in a nefarious human being, as pointed out in the original post.

The solution is simple enough, make a fuss and get the photo websites (and photo software) to make the information visible (to the uploader) and filterable. It's not a particularly difficult task for them, so a bit of public pressure should probably do it.


The reality is.....some time in the foreseeable future,  a currently democratic nation could well be ruled by a totalitarian Government.( ie a network of large corporations hijacks the democratic process and takes control of government)

The technology to facilitate state control of citizens movement is entrenched in our communications and road transport systems. Politically left or right, the only thing that will prevent this from happening is the safeguarding of the checks and balances built into a democratic system, and we have seen them being significantly eroded over the past few decades.
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Chris Hallam.
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Jon Hodgson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2011, 06:51:54 am »

Hallams wrote on Mon, 10 January 2011 11:24

Jon Hodgson wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 01:22

MagnetoSound wrote on Sat, 08 January 2011 12:01


You think this is down to the programmers, really?


Come on, think about it. This is covert tracking. Who would do that?


I'm glad I'm not paranoid.  Wink





It's not covert, since it's not hidden, it's just the result of various things interacting into something that people either didn't think about, or thought was somebody else's responsibility (the photo owners)

!) Camera Manufacturer - Geotagging is a useful feature for photos for a lot of people, GPS is now ubiquitous and cheap, cool we'll add it as a feature to our camera to sell more.

2) Photo Website - We let people upload their photos so they can show them to other people, we just do a simple upload and download of everything including metadata because that's the easiest thing to do, if the user wants to change or remove metadata, that's their job before uploading

3) Google maps - we provide a facility where people can put in coordinates and get a place on the map

All three perfectly reasonable and innocent things, which unfortunately can add up to a bad combination if you add in a nefarious human being, as pointed out in the original post.

The solution is simple enough, make a fuss and get the photo websites (and photo software) to make the information visible (to the uploader) and filterable. It's not a particularly difficult task for them, so a bit of public pressure should probably do it.


The reality is.....some time in the foreseeable future,  a currently democratic nation could well be ruled by a totalitarian Government.( ie a network of large corporations hijacks the democratic process and takes control of government)

The technology to facilitate state control of citizens movement is entrenched in our communications and road transport systems. Politically left or right, the only thing that will prevent this from happening is the safeguarding of the checks and balances built into a democratic system, and we have seen them being significantly eroded over the past few decades.


The countries with the most totalitarian state control today are in many cases those with more backward technology and economy, so I think the idea that having a geotagging feature in your phone is what is going to lead to a totalitarian state is a red herring.

I agree with you on the safeguarding of checks and balances (which is why I said earlier that any auto tracking feature on a phone should require a court order to switch on). However this thread has been about tag metadata on photos that the user takes  and choses to upload and the user has complete control over, but is unfortunately often ignorant about.

Yes it's a good idea to let people know about it... thank you KTownson... and it's also a good idea to push photo website and software developers to add features to reduce the chances of users inadvertantly giving away their location, but let's not paint it into something it isn't. It's not a violation of privacy, nor is it some government/corporate scheme to track the movements of individuals.
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ktownson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2011, 10:28:55 am »

It's also sometimes inadvertent on the part of programmers.

Real Life Example: Someone posts an item for sale on Craigslist. They don't include personal contact information with the ad, having the expectation that they can control the situation and can decide if they want to meet in a safe place with a potential buyer.

They snap a picture of the item with an iPhone and upload it with the ad. The geotags are embedded by default because they are a normal part of the photo being uploaded, not by any malicious intent on the part of the web developer. Now, anyone moderately savvy viewer can locate the position of the item, and show up on your doorstep. Or wait until you're gone and steal it.

It's a shame that criminals can use seemingly innocent and useful tools against us. It used to be common practice for parents to sew a nametag on the outside of children's backpacks. It made it easy for the students to find their own backpacks and it made it easy on the teachers. It also made it easy for pedophiles with binoculars to learn your child's name and approach him/her using their name.

Be informed, keep alert, think long and hard about what information you put on the web.
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Tidewater

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2011, 05:20:38 pm »

I just found a new dating strategy. I need to sew my name on my backpack.
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ktownson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2011, 10:41:56 pm »

If  you're looking to date pedophiles, your local sheriff has a whole website full of them.
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Paul Cavins

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2011, 11:26:49 pm »

So, if you were to check out someone on a chat room that supposedly featured sheriffs and other police officers, would you really be talking with a pedophile?



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Tidewater

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2011, 08:31:00 am »

Too old for a pedophile.. unless they are like 100.. creepy.
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ktownson

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2011, 09:43:48 am »

Man, this topic just took a screaming left and slammed into a telephone pole...
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johnR

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Re: Geotagging: Something to be careful with
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2011, 06:12:33 pm »

Jon Hodgson wrote on Mon, 10 January 2011 11:51


The countries with the most totalitarian state control today are in many cases those with more backward technology and economy, so I think the idea that having a geotagging feature in your phone is what is going to lead to a totalitarian state is a red herring.


I think the point was not that it would lead to a totalitarian state, but that it would provide a ready made surveillance system for such a state if one arose in future. Technologically advanced totalitarian states have existed in the past. Can anyone guarantee that it will never happen again?
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