This is the time of year when people are posting family photos online like mad — especially pictures of young children. Your kids are the most adorable out there, right? But do you really want the whole world to see them? And do you really want the whole world to know where you live? Because the whole world includes predators and pedophiles and those photos may have longitude and latitude data from your phones GPS stored in the EXIF data.
Images of your kids tearing open presents under the tree or of your friends and family celebrating New Year’s Eve at your home can reveal the exact locations these pictures were taken.
How is this possible? Every time you take a smartphone or digital camera photo, data called EXIF is created (Exchangeable Image Format). It includes the precise location or GPS coordinates of where the image was taken; the image has been geotagged.
If you remove EXIF data, predators won’t be able to see the GPS coordinates of where your photos were taken. However, you must remove the EXIF data for every new picture that you decide to post online.
How To Remove EXIF Data
- On a PC, Right click the image.
- Select “Properties” to view the data, which includes date and time the image was taken.
- Go to “Details”
- Go to “Remove Properties and Personal Information” and that’s where you can delete the location which is listed as EXIF.
- In Properties, EXIF will not list longitude and latitude – an EXIF reader is required to access this information, and they are all over the web.
- You can create a copy of the image; this will rid as much data as possible from the file. Or, you can manually delete data on the original file—one by one on the list of properties.
- If you’re using a Mac, you can remove EXIF data using a free tool called ImageOptim.
NOTE: Make the deletion before you post the image online! However, you should make the deletion for any images already online, because it’s possible that nobody has looked at the geotagging for any one particular image.
Now you know that from this point forward, you need to delete the data prior to posting the photos posting.
The pre-posting procedure will make you more selective about what goes on social media. But that’s okay; who really spends hours going through your infinite scroll of family photos?
Additional Tips For Removing EXIF Data and Increasing Your Privacy
- Turn the GPS off on your camera.
- Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts. If you post to one social network, it’s possible the post will automatically appear on another network. You can control this with the privacy settings.
This is one of those “hidden risks” that most of us are unaware of. If you have an overwhelming amount of photos online, don’t panic. Just make a decision as to what you want to do now, going forward, and if want to deal with older photos at all.
Please, share this post with anyone you know who posts a lot of photos online.