Hidden Cellphone Dangers, "Geo-Tagging"

Geo-Tagging The hidden cellphone dangers that could compromise your teen's safety.

Nearly all of my students who have cellphones have "smart phones." One of the inherent problems of having a smart phone is that by default, they usually "geo-tag" any pictures by the phone and uploaded to the Internet. 

Loosely defined, "geo-tag" means that any photo is "tagged" with information about the location from where it was taken -- the longitude, latitude and other sensitive data.  If your child has a Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Twitter,  or Photobucket account, this can be a serious issue. 

Where it gets dangerous; any stalker can download Opanda Software  (a free download) and use it to open any picture uploaded to the Internet.  If the phone's camera has tagged the picture with GPS data, Opanda is sure to find it.   Also, by default, Facebook geo-tags all content as well.  When a photo is geo-tagged, a predator does not need to wait, or even do extensive research to zero in on the location of a potential victim.  All of the needed information is readily available for anyone that has the right software.

The picture of my son was taken at the Orange County Fair.  Information about the camera, the owner and GPS location are all available through Opanda.

For further information on geo-tagging, please read this Wikipedia article.

What can you do?  Turn off the GPS for the camera in your phone.

For the iPhone:  

1. Go to Settings, then Location Services.  Turn off the slider for the camera  

For an Android device:

1. Select the Camera App, Store Location, and turn it to off.

For a Blackberry:

1. Go to Camera, select Options, then set Geo-Tagging to disabled.

Also -- parents, many of us take pictures of  our children with our phones and share them.  I strongly suggest you turn off the GPS function for both your phone's camera and your child's. 



This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Doakes January 31, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I read stories like this . . . and I'm so happy I grew up in a world without it I can't tell you . . . you do have a choice . . . Just turn the damned thing off.


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