Social Media and Geotagging

exif-geotags-experiment-featured

Social Media’s influence grow’s stronger and stronger every day, and a growing number of people around the world are embracing it.  Some of the most widely used social media platforms that people use daily are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Although, these platforms are great tools to create an online brand they can also impact your privacy if not used wisely.

I’m sure we all have those annoying friends or acquaintances who are constantly posting their controversial opinions or pictures online. It’s nothing new! With improved social media privacy settings put in place people are becoming more comfortable posting information online that they wouldn’t say or boast about in person.

Consequences of immature posting may not be felt right away, but instead at a later time. This can happen as a result of geotagging. Geotagging is a feature available on social media, which basically allows an individual to tag the location of their post.

Sample’s of Geotagged posts

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To preserve law and order government agencies are constantly monitoring social media activities. They do this through Open-source intelligence (OSINT), which is intelligence collected from publicly available sources.

There have been and continue to be many instances where people carelessly post online, only to be caught later. In one case a Louisiana teenager posted an image of marijuana on Instagram, however, since she forgot to remove the geo-tagged locational metadata from the photo she was tracked down by officials with the illegal drug in possession.

This is just one scenario of geotagging. There are many others, where instead of official’s common people have used geo-tagged locations to find people who they have problems with on social media, which has even led to extreme outcomes such as violence and murder.

Your privacy is never truly 100% protected on social media. There will always be loophole’s which people will find to get your information if they really want to. In this changing society and with the growing comfort of being candid on social media we need to stop and ask ourselves, would I share this with other’s if I wasn’t sitting behind a screen? In the end we can’t completely protect ourselves on social media, but controlling the types of posts we make and how we tag them can help protect us from excessive damage if our privacy is breached.

 

Amrit Kang

 

Sources

Storm, D. (2013). Busted! Cops arrest teenager after she posted a picture of pot on Instagram. Retrieved from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2474831/data-privacy/busted–cops-arrest-teenager-after-she-posted-a-picture-of-pot-on-instagram.html

OSINT Training by Michael Bazzell. Retrieved from https://inteltechniques.com/links.html

(2016). Geotagging on Social Media: Beware of the risks – Silkstream. Retrieved from http://www.silkstream.net/blog/2016/08/geotagging-social-media-risks.html

Retrieved from https://usblog.kaspersky.com/files/2016/10/exif-geotags-experiment-featured.jpg

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