How To Use Your iPhone Safely & Protect Yourself And Your Family From Predators
Have you even used your iPhone to snap a picture of your children playing in the park? Perhaps youâ€™ve taken photos of various things around your own home to share with your friends on Facebook, Flickr, via E-Mail or MySpace. Unless you have disabled the â€˜Location Servicesâ€™ on your iPhoneâ€™s camera you could potentially be exposing yourself, your children and your entire family for that matter to a largely unnoticed and very real danger.
Donâ€™t believe me? Take a look at one of the worrysome features in the popular and freely available Picasa image management software offered by Google.
The danger lies in the iPhone's built in GPS (Global Positioning System). When you take a photo with it; by default, the phone will store GPS co-ordinates inside the image file! To do this the iPhone writes the co-ordinates to what is known as an EXIF tag. These co-ordinates basically pin-point the location the photograph was taken. Some digital cameras also feature built-in GPS units that do the same thing, so make sure you check that as well.
Now imagine if the photos were of your precious children playing in the backyard, the $300,000 Porsche you have parked in your garage or the huge plasma television hanging on your wall at home. Now imagine that these photographs fell into the hands of thief or paedophile. The predator could use the EXIF data tags to find out exactly where the photo was taken and I am sure you can work out where the danger in having such data exposed to the public like that lies. It is extremely easy to extract this data from an EXIF tag and certainly does not require a computer genius to do it.
Fortunately it is easily rectified. On your iPhone all you have to do is to go to â€˜Settingsâ€™, â€˜Location Servicesâ€™, scroll down the screen until you find â€˜Cameraâ€™ and then make sure the switch is turned to â€˜Offâ€™. Your camera will now stop recording latitude and longitude data in your photos as EXIF tags and they will be free of any location data when you upload them on to the internet.
If you already have photos that have been taken with â€˜Location Servicesâ€™ turned on and you want to remove the GPS data you can do so by copying the pictures to your computer and then downloading and using this Exif Tag Remover software on them. The usage of this software is beyond the scope of this article but support can be found on their website.