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.
Flickr introduced a novel privacy feature yesterday called “geofences”, which lets you hide the location data of photos taken in certain locations from the general public. It seems like a great idea, but blogger Thomas Hawk points out that there’s a pretty big loophole in the system:
Although the geotag information is indeed pulled from the flickr photo page, ANYONE can potentially still get your geolocational data simply by downloading the original sized file and looking into the EXIF data.
This means the geofence feature doesn’t actually wipe the geotag information from the photos you upload, but simply prevents the data from being displayed in an easy-to-view format on the Flickr site. If you make the original versions of your photos available for download, the general public can still access the location data found in those. To close the loophole, simply make it so people can’t download your originals.
Flickr introduced an innovative location-based privacy feature today called “geofences“. It’s a way of assigning default privacy settings to certain locations for geotagged photographs. For example, you can assign a geofence with a certain radius around your home, and automatically set those photos’ location data to only be visible to your friends and family. Each user can have up to 10 geofences, and existing photographs are automatically updated to new geofence privacy settings.
Facial recognition technology has become ubiquitous in recent years, being found in everything from the latest compact camera to websites like Facebook. The same may soon be said about location recognition. Through a new project called “Finder“, the US government military research division IARPA is looking into how to quickly and automatically identify where a photograph was taken without any geotag data. The goal is to use only the identifying features found in the background of scenes to determine the location — kinda like facial recognition except for landscapes.
(via Wired via PopPhoto)
Image credit: 090920-A-2794B-004 by isafmedia
creepy is a desktop application written by Yiannis Kakavas that demonstrates how the geotagging features found in newer cameras and phones can violate your privacy. Simply provide it with a Flickr username and it will map the places and times photos were taken conveniently on a map.
If you don’t want to allow people to track you in this way, you can turn off your geotagging features — which saves power too — or look into “scrubbing” the location data from your photos.
creepy (via Download Squad)
As photo-making devices become more and more location aware, many people unwittingly give up a lot of privacy by publishing location-tagged images online. If privacy is something you care about and you’d rather not broadcast location data along with your photography, a free Windows program called Geotag Security can help you scrub the geotag information from your pics. All you do is select a folder to scan, and the program will check the images within for location data and remove it.
Geotag Security (via Lifehacker)
The Geotaggers’ World Atlas is an interesting series of images by Eric Fischer that shows city maps overlaid with points indicating that a photograph was taken there. The location data was obtained from Flickr and Picasa, and the resulting images are heat maps of popular photography locations.
New York City
To see additional cities, head on over to Flickr to check out the Geotaggers’ World Atlas set.