I found out some­thing recent­ly com­plete­ly by acci­dent… but real­ized imme­di­ate­ly the impli­ca­tions it has for peo­ples secu­ri­ty is quite dis­turb­ing.  I was look­ing at old­er pics in my Iphone, while on the albums page I pressed the “pho­tos” but­ton in the low­er left hand cor­ner of the screen and then the “col­lec­tions” but­ton in the top left cor­ner of the screen.  It took me to a screen that grouped pho­tos by the dates they were tak­en… and also the loca­tion they were tak­en.  By sim­ply click­ing on a loca­tion head­ing, it showed me my pics in a map for­mat with the pics super­im­posed on the map where they were tak­en.  This not only includ­ed pic­tures I have tak­en, but pic­tures peo­ple have sent me via text mes­sage that I have saved on my phone.

Here is an exam­ple of what I mean… a group of pics titled “Beth­le­hem and Bound Brook” tak­en in late 2012 has pics from both of those loca­tions.  The large view of this map shows both of them… one, a pic of me get­ting geared up for a dive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, was tak­en in Beth­le­hem, PA and the oth­er, a pic of my daugh­ter with San­ta, was tak­en in Bound Brook, NJ.


The prob­lem real­ly aris­es when you zoom in on a pic­ture in this large map.   Heres that view….


The detail in the map is stag­ger­ing… right down to the launch I was on at the reser­voir.  Oth­er pics (which I will not post for secu­ri­ty con­cerns) show accu­ra­cy right down to the house, com­plete with street names.  In the age of inter­net dat­ing and craigslist ser­i­al killers, this is incred­i­bly prob­lem­at­ic.  You can nev­er be quite sure who you are cor­re­spond­ing with online and some­thing as sim­ple as a pic­ture sent to a poten­tial buyer/seller on craigslist could put you at risk.  So how do we fix this par­tic­u­lar prob­lem?  I cant speak about any oth­er phone plat­form (or if it is even a prob­lem on oth­ers) but here is how we fix it on an iphone…

Go to “Set­tings”, then “Pri­va­cy”, then “Loca­tion Ser­vices”, and tog­gle the “Cam­era” set­ting to Nev­er

Oth­er secu­ri­ty issues may still be present on your phone with oth­er apps and if any read­ers are aware of them, please post up in the com­ments.

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