If you’ve been following the news, you might have heard that a man John McAfee is on the run from police who want to question him about a murder. Not just any ol’ John McAfee, but the John McAfee, the once-ultra-rich founder of anti-virus software company McAfee. Well, a photograph published to the web today may have revealed the exact location McAfee
is was hiding.
Reuters has published its list of the best photographs taken in 2012, a massive collection of 95 powerful images showing different events that have occurred around the globe over the past year. In addition to large photos, descriptions by the photographers, and the official captions, each image is also accompanied by information about the equipment and settings that were used to capture it.
Flickr has quietly rolled out a great incremental update to its photo-sharing service. Individual photo pages now display a number of EXIF details under a new section labeled “Additional Info”, found in the column to the right. With a quick glance, you’ll be able to see the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and focal length that a photographer was using when he or she snapped any photo.
Donalee Moulton over at The Lawyers Weekly has an article describing how EXIF data is beginning to be accepted as valuable evidence in courtrooms — at least in Canada:
Traditionally, a photograph was a picture of one point in time. It could only tell what someone was doing, or not doing, at a particular moment on a particular day. What came before or after was unknown. This uncertainty meant that even what appeared to be a damning image had little value as a piece of evidence because there was no context [...]
Digital photography does not pose the same problem. In some cases, the metadata are enough to counter the snapshot argument by demonstrating that an activity was performed repeatedly or for a lengthy period [...]
Apparently judges are considering EXIF data to be relevant in personal injury lawsuits, in which photos could “prove” that the plaintiff isn’t too injured or depressed to function properly. Hopefully the courts are aware of how easily EXIF data can be faked.
Smile, You’re on Metadata [The Lawyers Weekly]
Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!
Image credit: More Exif Info configuration by mortimer?, Courtroom One Gavel by Joe Gratz
One of the big conveniences of shooting digital is that your pictures pop out with useful details baked into the EXIF data. Exif4Film is a tool that makes recording EXIF information easier for film photographers. It comes as a pair of programs: an Android app helps shooters store specific details as soon as photos are captured, and a desktop application takes the Android app data and automatically adds it to your film scans. The apps are completely free, and developer Kostas Rutkauskas tells us that they’re planning to open-source the project soon. If you’re an Android user and analog shooter, give it a shot and let us know how it goes!
9 out of 10 adults in America believe that people are over-sharing sensitive personal information. One culprit is the GPS-enabled camera, which can reveal exactly where you were at a specific time by baking the information into photos. If you’re uncomfortable with how specific this EXIF data is, Canon has a solution: fuzzy precision. The company has patented a system that may one day allow its camera users to choose “low precision” EXIF data. This means cameras would record rough and non-specific details of when and where an image was made. Instead of 12:31pm, it might record it was 12-1pm, and instead of a particular location, it might provide a general area on a map.
(via Egami via Canon Watch)
Many photographers, especially those who used to shoot film, still enjoy the feedback and control offered by fully manual lenses. The only problem with using these lenses in the digital age is that modern camera bodies don’t recognize them and therefore add no EXIF lens data to your images; adding that data up until now required you to install a command line tool such as ExifTool and learn complicated prompts. But now there’s an easier way to make these changes happen inside of Lightroom. Read more…
Google has added EXIF data to Google Images, allowing you to quickly look up details on how a particular photograph was taken (as long as the data is embedded). Simply click any of your search results to see the details in the panel on the right. They don’t seem to be doing anything with geotag info — displaying where the photo was taken on a Google Map, for example — which is probably a smart choice. Something tells me a lot of people would have a problem with that, even though the data is publicly accessible and baked into the photo itself.
(via Google Operating System)
Thanks for the tip, Hannah!
For photo enthusiasts, Google’s new Google+ social network is something like Flickr mixed with Facebook. It has the social sharing power of Facebook while providing features and tools Flickr users would appreciate thanks to the fact that Google runs a full-fledged photo-sharing service in Picasa (soon to be brought into the Google+ fold and renamed Google Photos). One such feature is the EXIF data section, easily accessed for each photo by Action->Photo Details. Most Facebook users would likely be confused by having a histogram pop up for their images, but for loyal Picasa users using Google+ for sharing and viewing photos, it’s quite a nifty option.
On August 4, 2006, AOL published a text file containing 20 million searches done by 650,000 users over a 3-month period for research purposes. Although the company anonymized the data by showing the users as numerical IDs, people soon realized that many people searched for personally identifiable information (e.g. their names), allowing real names to be put to unique IDs, thus revealing the search history of that individual. After the media caught wind of this, the whole thing was known as the AOL search data scandal.