I read an article this week titled Could Geotagging Pose a Threat to Your Security. I felt like it was a relevant topic to data communications and general tech because geotagging is essentially using a smartphone's GPS features to tag the latitude and longitude of the pictures that are taken. This significant advancement in data communications is an incredible tool and creates a wide array of creative possibilities with the geologically tagged images. However, it also poses some serious security threats.
The article contains comments from several officials that explains why geotags can be so dangerous. "Geotagging can be dangerous when you don't intend to share that information with someone else, when someone else has a vested interest in knowing what that location is of the picture you took," says Jeremiah Johnson of the National White Collar Crime Center. This poses a major threat, because predators can potentially analyze your photos off your blog, website, or social network and use the embedded geotag to identify the exact locations of some of your most routine daily tasks. And worse yet, your children's common locations. The article concludes by referring to a video on several ways to disable geotags on your smart phone.
I see the ability to geographically tag my images as a wonderful tool that, as with all technology, with proper use within well-established boundaries, can be a great way to manage and collect your digital media. My personal decision (and recommendation) is to use geotagging in all cases on my phone, but from here on out the change I will make is that I will remove the geotag information before posting any potentially "private" images on the Internet.
I feel like there are too many advantages of this technology to do something drastic like shut it off completely. I loved being able to see all my photos by location on a map on my iPhone. Without geotagging that wouldn't be possible.
Years down the road, I'd like to be able to take a look at my personal history by looking at a map and seeing collections of pictures in all the locations I’ve lived or traveled. What amazing technology! Sure, you could manually specify the location of each photo, but if we're talking hundreds or thousands of pictures, the geotag is such a innovative (and creative) feature that enables wonderful creativity.
As with any technology, we must make sure we understand the technology and approach it correctly. Similar skepticism at the risks of new technologies occurred with AOL instant messenger and other messaging clients that came out 10-15 years ago. Look at the widespread use of these technologies today... where would we be without them! Geotagging must be handled safely and responsibly, and it can be an incredible tool that takes advantage of years of technological innovation in computer hardware and data communications!