Your camera may be telling the world where you are

An article in today’s Times points out a surprising (to me) security vulnerability in smartphone and other GPS-equipped cameras: They mark images with invisible but easily readable* “geotags” pinpointing where (and when) the photo was taken. Take a picture with an iPhone or a Droid inside your house, post it on the Web, and you’ve just shared your home address with the Internet. Combine that picture with a blog post about your vacation plans, and, well… you didn’t really need that TV or stereo, did you?

Although this tagging feature can be turned off, the default for most devices is to have it turned on—and not make an effort to notify you that it even exists.

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*The Times article includes links to download plug-ins for Firefox and Internet Explorer that let you scan online photos for tagged info. If you want to check photos you’ve already uploaded for geotags, this is an easy way to do it.

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