The saga of anti-virus pioneer John McAfee’s run from the law is a strange one, but this much is clear: McAfee wishes geotagging wasn’t a feature built into modern cameras. After a month of fleeing from Belizean law enforcement after a neighbor was found murdered, the software tycoon was finally taken into custody this week, largely due to a single photo loaded with GPS data.
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 announced today that it has partnered with Nokia to overhaul its geotagging feature. The new maps and satellite images will offer increased coverage (e.g. bye bye photos in ambiguous blobs of land), detail, and zoom. The company isn’t turning its back on Open Street Map completely, though: the old map tiles will still be used in areas that aren’t covered by Nokia’s commercial maps.
(via Flickr Blog via Engadget)
Earlier this month the US Army published an article warning its soldiers that the ubiquitousness of geotagged photographs these days can present a serious security risk, citing a real-world example of something that happened back in 2007:
When a new fleet of helicopters arrived with an aviation unit at a base in Iraq, some Soldiers took pictures on the flightline, he said. From the photos that were uploaded to the Internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches.
Officer Kent Grosshans recommends disabling the geotagging feature on your phone (or camera) and double-checking your social media settings to see who you’re sharing location-based info with, regardless of whether you’re an enlisted soldier or a civilian.
Geotagging poses security risks (via John Nack)
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)
onOneSoftware’s DSLR Camera Remote is a convenient way to control your camera remotely with an iPhone or iPad, but a major downside is that the camera needs to be connected via wire to a computer running the software. BlueSLR is a dongle that connects to your DSLR and allows it to be controlled using an iPhone or iPad, allowing you to shoot remotely from up to 300 feet away. It also geotags your photos, writing its GPS location to the EXIF data of your images. Sadly, it’s only compatible with Nikon DSLRs for now, though they’re working on releasing a Canon version as well.
Be warned though — portability will come at a great price. While the basic version of DSLR Camera Remote is free (the pro version is $20), the BlueSLR dongle will set you back $149. Hmmm… If the geotagging isn’t what you’re after, maybe carrying around a laptop isn’t such a big deal after all.
BlueSLR Remote Shutter (via Engadget)