iPhone Geo-Tagging - The Privacy Killer — Totseans

iPhone Geo-Tagging - The Privacy Killer

edited August 2011 in Tech & Games
My friend just bought a new phone, and despite all the recommendations a few of us have given him, he went and bought an iPhone :facepalm: As well as it being a total waste of perfectly good money, the iPhone has a feature enabled which also broadcasts your location to everybody in the whole world who has an internet connection. Geo-tagging. Why anyone would want to have this turned on is completely beyond my belief, but the scary thing is - it's enabled by default. Worried yet? Well, if you're an iPhone owner then you probably should be, especially if you share your photos on the internet via social networking sites, or even upload them to Photobucket or Imageshack.

Geo-tagging allows your iPhone to access it's GPS system, pinpoint your location at the time you took your photograph, and write that information to the EXIF data stored in the image. If you don't know what EXIF data is, then I suggest clicking that link and reading the Wikipedia page on it. The information is stored inside the image, and if you don't remove it before uploading it to the internet... Well, that's how people are able to see exactly where you are and where you've been.

So, if you own an iPhone and are conscious about your privacy then you should seriously consider disabling this terrible feature!

Comments

  • BaconPieBaconPie Regular
    edited August 2011
    What the fuck? Is this just mindless iPhone bashing? Geo-tagging just adds location data to the EXIF. It certainly doesn't broadcast your location to everyone in the world.
    trx100 wrote: »
    ...if you don't remove it before uploading it to the internet... Well, that's how people are able to see exactly where you are and where you've been.

    You can already do that by LOOKING AT THE FUCKING PICTURES! It's not a privacy invasion if I take a picture of Big Ben and my camera knows it's in London.

    Also, the iPhone is a damn good phone, what's your beef?
  • edited August 2011
    Technically, anyone in the world could view your EXIF data and Geo-location if you've uploaded your photo somewhere. With enough pictures, someone can identify where you enjoy going, when you usually go there, etc etc. Would you really want someone finding all that out about you?
  • BaconPieBaconPie Regular
    edited August 2011
    Am I being trolled? Seriously? You don't think you could get that information just from the pictures themselves? This has nothing to do with the iPhone.
  • edited August 2011
    The fact is, the iPhone has Geo-tagging enabled as default. I think this could be a privacy issue to certain people who don't realize just what they're sharing about themselves.
  • BaconPieBaconPie Regular
    edited August 2011
    So does the Nexus S (and plenty of other Android phones). Also, a lot of DSLR cameras do this too. I think sharing a picture with someone is more than enough location data; having the coordinates tagged along is just useful. It's such a cool feature to browse your photo's by location, automatically.
  • LordWormLordWorm Regular
    edited August 2011
    BaconPie wrote: »
    Am I being trolled? Seriously? You don't think you could get that information just from the pictures themselves? This has nothing to do with the iPhone.

    In most cases no, it's not easy and straightforward to identify someone's location based on a picture alone. Sure, if you're standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or similar landmark, then obviously it's not going to be a secret, but the vast majority of pictures are taken without unique background scenery. Personally, I go out of my way to ensure that none of the 5000+ pictures in my Photobucket albums could potentially give away my location to any observers. Geo-tagging would only serve to nullify this effort and hand my identity directly to law enforcement, or anyone else who happened to want it.

    Also, the iPhone is an overpriced piece of junk which is easily surpassed by several of its less expensive competitors.
  • AlbinoEthiopianAlbinoEthiopian Regular
    edited August 2011
    Most sites strip the exif data now because of that reason. But people are retarded if they don't turn it off. Just like on android the GPS is automatically enabled so you are going to hate on them also? It is as simple as turning that feature off; who knows someone may like that feature.
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited August 2011
    Does having a custom ROM on an Android stop the live GPS? I suppose not if you have things like Google Earth or Google Sky on.

    Sorry. Retarded self answered question.
  • AlbinoEthiopianAlbinoEthiopian Regular
    edited August 2011
    If you turn it off and you try to access those apps it asks you to turn it on and says you can't continue if you don't/ if you press okay it will turn on the GPS.
  • edited August 2011
    RemadE wrote: »
    Does having a custom ROM on an Android stop the live GPS? I suppose not if you have things like Google Earth or Google Sky on.

    Sorry. Retarded self answered question.

    I've had a look through the ROM we're using, and there's a setting regarding location somewhere... I can't remember exactly where it is, but it exists. I think it's default turned off, but I could be wrong. There's no location data in the EXIF for images though, so we're safe there.
  • RaggedOldManRaggedOldMan Regular
    edited August 2011
    This was actually one of the reasons I didn't buy an iPhone, believe it or not. There were other reasons of course, but I had a particular incident with a guy from College who decided it would be a great idea to actually break into my house and steal my PS3, along with a bunch of money and some other personal items. Then to put the icing on the cake, he decided he'd upload a picture of all the swag he just obtained to Twitter, using his iPhone! Wow, what a genius. I saved the picture and checked the EXIF data, looking for a name or something similar but I was incredibly amazed when I found the GPS details staring me in the face.

    A couple nights later, I had an interview with the Police which is when I handed over the picture and his details, and they went and arrested him. He managed to fucking break my PS3 though :mad: Thankfully, I got some compensation on it.

    Anyway, I was genuinely worried at the power of this Geo-tagging feature and it actually turned me off of getting an iPhone. If I was to ever do something stupid with pictures and forget to remove EXIF data, I'd be a gonner.
  • edited August 2011
    Facebook strips exif data now - and if you want to divide by zero and fuck over someone you can change exif tags and then go post the images on /b/ pretending to be 'john and i hate all you faggots etc etc'.

    Ive actually used the feature to streamline some business processes that need to be audited as part of my job, when a field audit is conducted they take photos with their phone and send it to my email - it has the created time, geotag and i know that cant be edited using the iphones we give them.
  • EchidnaEchidna Regular
    edited August 2011
    This is common practice and is used in almost all android phones too. Google+ takes it one step forward and catsgorizes pictures by location. Either that or Picasa I forget
  • RemadERemadE Global Moderator
    edited August 2011
    I have a pretty good App for the HTC/Android called EXIF Stripper that works nicely.
  • edited August 2011
    RemadE wrote: »
    I have a pretty good App for the HTC/Android called EXIF Stripper that works nicely.

    That sounds good, I'm going to download it and give it a shot. Hopefully it's easier than having to manually remove all the info whenever I upload my pictures to the computer.
  • RaggedOldManRaggedOldMan Regular
    edited August 2011
    Why is it a big thing right now? I fail to see why anybody would want others to know where they are around the clock. :confused:
  • duuudeduuude Regular
    edited August 2011
    This thread is why I don't upload or post pictures I've taken on my phone anywhere. I feel like if I just avoid it all together I wont have to worry about making sure the tagging is off and that the EXIF is stripped and all of that.

    All these apps that have to have GPS enabled and know your location are bullshit.
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