There’s a bit of a scare being circulated this week, mostly via Facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen it:
Warning: Smartphone Pictures Pose Privacy Risk
Now, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be aware of information that’s captured about themselves and their children, but there are a couple of things you should know about this.
1. According to Facebook’s help pages, downloaded files don’t contain location information. I don’t know if this has always been the case or not; perhaps it wasn’t back when that video was recorded.
2. The video that’s being pointed to is from November, 2010. In Internet time, that’s forever ago. Facebook and other online services change their software often — many services deploy changes multiple times every day (we call that “continuous deployment” and yes, it’s really practiced).
3. I did a quick experiment, the results of which you can see here, and it shows that Facebook’s help page is indeed correct.
On the left is the exif information from a photo I just took. You can see the location and other information plainly. I then uploaded the file to Twitter and Facebook, and both services seem to have stripped out the location and some other info before saving them. Other online services may or may not do the same thing. I know of many which explicitly do not.
Facebook does have an option to “add location” to any picture.
If you choose to do that, all bets are off.
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In my opinion: As in many cases, the answer’s very simple…