Mr. Darcy,  Safety and Security

Be careful sharing photos online – they usually have GPS coordinates in them

Photo by henry perks

When I was building and testing the Darcy Girl site, I discovered something surprising (and a little scary). The photos we uploaded had GPS coordinates in them that shows exactly where we were when the photo was taken. The feature is called Geotagging and it is widely implemented by camera apps.

This is often a great feature because it allows photo viewing applications to display the location. Many times I have looked at a photo and wondered exactly where it was taken. With the GPS coordinates, I can know precisely! As long as I (or trusted family and friends) am the one looking at the photo, the location is a great feature.

However that changes when you start posting those photos on the internet for anyone to see and share. Most social media applications will proactively remove the GPS coordinates, which helps a great deal, but not all photos go through social media. Whether the photos are emailed or uploaded to a blog site, there are ways to inadvertently give your exact location to a stranger. How many of your photos are taken at your home?

Luckily I have a technical background and thought about this prior to the launch of the blog. I wrote a program that went through all of the photos and sanitized them. There are also easy ways to remove the GPS coordinates using free software like Photopea.

If you’d prefer, you can also disable the GPS coordinates in most camera apps, such as Android and iOS. I use Google Photos however and I really enjoy being able to see where photos were taken, and search by location also (the Google Photos search is eerily good), and I love seeing the location displayed on my smart frame (I use the Google Home Hub).

So if you share photos with others, make sure you think about whether there are GPS coordinates in them and if it’s ok to let those leave your control. If not, best to strip them!

Stay safe out there!

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