Sunday, September 12, 2010


I've written before about various internet privacy issues, and my view on the whole subject remains unchanged:

If you knowingly and willingly put personal and private information on the internet, you deserve everything you get. When you post a rant about how your boss is a lecherous, incompetent asshole on your public Facebook profile that includes your full name, address and phone number, it's your own damn fault if you get fired.

My advice is simple, and it's something I've always done: Assume anything you put on the internet is public.

However, I think there's an awful lot of scaremongering going on that 'exposes' security flaws that are really nothing new.

For example, today I read a 'shocking' expose where the writer warned about the hidden dangers of geo-tagging your photos.

This writer said he was at a local park when he noticed a teenage girl taking a picture with her iPhone, knowing that the iPhone can geo-tag photos, he decided to run an 'experiment'.

So he went home, went online and looked for pictures that had been geo-tagged for that same park. After a couple of hours of searching he found a picture of the same girl he'd seen, and through that, got her username so he could search for all pictures she'd taken. Then, after finding a bunch of pictures taken inside an apartment, he used the geo-tag information on them to find out where she lives.

Of course, this led to the moral panic inducing portion of the article where the writer asked the important question: What if he was a pedophile or a rapist? From just a couple of hours on the internet, he found out where this girl lives!

Well, yeah… I suppose if a predator did see someone taking a picture with an iPhone, and that person did habitually geo-tag all their pictures, and they uploaded them all to the internet, and the predator was willing to spend a few hours looking through hundreds (or thousands) of pictures until he found one of the person he was stalking, and that person had taken a lot of pictures inside their own home…then it's possible he could get an approximate address.

Or, you know, he could just follow her home.

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