Tag Archives: parentingchronicles

GPS tagged photos: should you be panicking?

fb-link-to-kyeosI recently saw a post on several friends FaceBook pages, all going to the same website, with the same headline: “WARNING!!!! If you take photos with your cell phone“. Clicking the link brings you to a website with a warning about the dangers of posting photos from your cell phone on social media sites. The article has since been removed, but it’s available in Google’s cache if you really want to read it. It’s more of a dire warning to watch a video from the NBC affiliate KHSB in Kansas City, MO and spread the word.

My issue is that, while it’s true that the photos on your phone do include the data they are mentioning, it’s easy for ANYONE to find that information (it’s not limited to “hackers”), and most social websites (Facebook and Twitter at least) remove that data when the photos are shared.

Here, for example, is a photo I took today when getting off the highway. There’s three copies: the one I emailed myself, the one I posted to FaceBook and the one I posted to Twitter.
photo-exif photo-facebook photo-twitter

If you take a minute to save the first one to your hard drive and open it with a program that can read the Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, you can find my location (latitude and longitude) when I took the photo. On the Mac, just open the images in Preview, which comes with all Macs – if you have a PC, you can do a Google search to find something to read it. In Preview, do Command + I (or go to the “Tools” menu and choose “Show Inspector”) and the info window will appear. Select the second tab, then the GPS tab in the second row and you’ll get something like this:

I then copied and pasted the Latitude and Longitude:
Latitude: 41° 15′ 18″ N
Longitude: 73° 0′ 0″ W

You could trim that down and copy/paste it into Google Maps: 41° 15′ 18″ N,73° 0′ 0″ W. You’ll end up with a pin approximately where you were when you took the photo. I was getting off the highway.

What about Facebook or Twitter? Here’s the info that the same image, uploaded to their servers, presents when saved locally:

In other words, when the photos were uploaded, they removed the GPS data.

Is this a perfect system? Not really. If you uploaded images before they started to remove the GPS data, it’s possible that the data is still there. For example, when I first heard about this, in February 2012, I did some searches to see what I could find.

I ended up writing an email to a specific “friend” I met on Twitter, and who happened to have some photos that had GPS data embedded:

First of all, I’m _not_ a stalker, simply a fan.

I was sent an email today, ostensibly for parents, but really, just for anyone who should be thinking before posting things online: YouTube link.
(the gist: if you take photos on your smart phone, when you post them online, the geo-tagged info might still be in your photos).

I first went to Facebook to see if some photos that had recently been posted by people I knew had geotag info – nothing. I think that Facebook actually strips out the EXIF data, which I guess is good.

Next I went to twitter and started looking for photos posted there by people I follow, and struck out again.

I expanded my search again, and found, after looking at a photo you Instagrammed, that one of the photos you posted on your twit pic contained the data [link provided but removed].

To get the data, I saved the file to my desktop, opened it in Preview on the Mac, then brought up the Inspector (under the tools menu).

It shows:
Latitude: 40° xx’ xx” N
Longitude: 73° xx’ xx” W

There’s also a handy “Locate” button, which opens a browser to: here

Which includes a street address:
621-699 W 40th St
Manhattan, NY 10018

Again, I’m _NOT_ stalking you. I just need to be clear on this. OK? You just happened to be the first person that I found who was sharing photos that had the geotag data in it.

Anyway, I went to one of the websites mentioned in the YouTube video and it turns out that it’s well known that TwitPic doesn’t scrub the data:

And instructions on how to disable it, so that even if the website doesn’t scrub the data, it won’t be there:

Anyway, just thought you should be aware – I’ll be sending out some similar letters to friends and family.

(again, really not a stalker)

I ended up never sending it – it felt too stalkerly – but the video I linked to then is the same video!

There are ways to turn the GPS data embedding off if you want, just do a web search for “(your phone type) and disable gps tagging”.

I still check my uploaded photos every month or so, just to make sure – better safe than sorry!

That was nuts!

Clearly, it’s been a while since I posted. In the post move ruckus, I was dealing with the normal change stuff, but when I planned the move, I seem to have forgotten just how extensive my old website was. All kinds of crazy stuff that I don’t recall creating/linking to – but it’s there, so I must have done it. Apparently.
Anyway, when I’m not checking out the missing file error log, then I’ve been tweaking things. Oh, and working on the continued success of raising the kids and all that other fun/crazy stuff. Which reminds me: parentingchronicles.com seems to be offline, largely in part due to the way that the site is configured. Sorry, can’t change it now, but that will be fixed shortly (I hope).
What’s new…. Well, the kids are almost done with school for the year. We had the kindergarten picnic earlier this week – it went well, I thought – and we also bought a new camera: The Canon PowerShot A560. It’s a super-fancy 7.1MP digital camera with 4x optical zoom and some other fancy stuff – like the new Automatic Face Finder thingee, which is all the rage with the cool kids of late. If your camera doesn’t have that, then you’re camera is old and weak. Really. You should just give up and go home ;).
Anyway, like I said it’s a great camera. The LCD is 2.5″, which is pretty big – much bigger than we’re used to. It makes it easy to see what you’re getting a photo of, and makes it really easy to make sure you got the right shot. The only bad photos I’ve taken so far have been the ones with bad poses – or the usual eyes closed thing – I don’t think there’s a feature that can fix that, but I keep looking….
We’ve only taken a few photos with it so far, but as I said, they’ve been mostly good ones. :noah: has a T-Ball game today, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some good photos during the game. If not (it will be me and three kids), then I’m hoping to be able to post some of the photos from Kindergarten picnic the other day.
We’ve also got some exciting stuff going on in the schooling front. Miss Abigail (Miss B or just plain :abby: ) is making the exciting from pre-school to Kindergarten. We don’t know who her teacher will be next year (although we’re liking Ms. Griffin after all of Noah’s success this year) we’re sure she’ll do fine.
Noah is moving up to the multi-age program. I think I’ve covered this before, but it’s two classrooms that are both 1st and 2nd graders. It’s a co-operative learning environment. I don’t know much about the theories behind it, I just know that the school has had a lot of success with the program, they’re proud of it, and :emma: had a good time with it when she was in the program. If our luck holds, Abby will be in the program in two years, which would mean that she and Noah will be together in some of their classes. Hopefully they’ll do a little better dealing with each other than they do now – but since that’s in two years, I’m hopeful that things will be ok.
:ethan: is progressing nicely. We’re not doing anything formal with him, but he’s a bit of a sponge when it comes to learning things. He’s working on colors, knows a shape or two, and is just a great, funny little monkey. He’s got more than a few words under his belt, and he’s starting to put toddler sentences together, which makes everyones lives easier (“I want cookie” is much more likely to get a cookie and no tears than “That!” and a lot of pointing in a general direction). Plus, who doesn’t love hearing “Daddy!” shouted when he spots me coming home and then a big hug from a little monkey? The other kids are all “Oh, hey, your home – can I have a snack?” or something.
Well, I think that’s enough updating for now. Emma’s got a party to go to, I have to get ready and then get the other three ready for the T-Ball game, and then there’s supposed to be some time for some lawn mowing later today, I hope. Well, maybe. Photos and updates, and will hopefully resume on a more frequent basis starting later today – depending on how T-Ball goes, I should think.

Life among the "unclean"

rotovirus – Google Search
When you live with four kids, and three of them go to public schools, occasionally they bring something home that you don’t want: a virus.
We currently have a some form of the rotovirus working it’s way around the family – it started with :ethan:, went to :abby:, and might be working on :noah: right now. Both :jen: and I are so far unaffected, but that will only last so long.
I’m glad that we had a nice weekend – the warm weather meant I could open the windows and try to air the house out a bit. We’ve washed just about every towel in the house now, and are working our way through all the bedsheets – and it’s not because they’ve got the virus in them, in case you’re thinking it. It’s all related to the virus. I think the local water company will be quite pleased with our next payment to them….
More details as events emerge – literally ;).

Britney: not immune to parenting

IOL: Sleepy Britney leaves New Year’s Eve party
Britney Spears finally appears to be acting like a new mother – by falling asleep on a New Year’s Eve night out.
It seems pretty lame on the face of it, but think about it – she’s finally getting worn out with all the panty-less partying, and apparently the strain of raising her two children without their father is taking it’s toll. I have to wonder, however, just how much help K-Fed was when they were still together. But that’s just me 😉