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'Geo-tagging' dangers examined

By Meaghan Smith, msmith@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 16 2013 04:55:17 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 16 2013 04:11:58 PM CDT

As smart phones and social media become more and more popular, so does a technique called "geo-tagging."

A simple picture could lead a predator right to your front door.

As smart phones and social media become more and more popular, so does a technique called "geo-tagging." 

Detective Matthew Price with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office explains how it works and the dangers that come with it. "They're taking these pictures and posting them on these websites. If they got into the wrong person's hands, and they knew what they were doing, they could find out [where that person is]," says Det. Price.

He says most smart phones are equipped with a GPS that saves your location and embeds that information in pictures you take. Then, if it's posted online, anyone could access the location where the picture was taken. "With the right kind of software, equipment, applications, they can retrieve that and get pretty accurate results of where you are when the picture was taken," says Det. Price.

You can turn off the feature in a lot of phones by going into the privacy settings and turning off the location services for your camera. 

Deputies stress you should always know what your child is doing and talk to them about the dangers of geo-tagging.

Here are instructions for how to turn off geo-tagging on your phone.

iPhone

On iPhones running iOS4, geotagging photos can be turned off in the General section of the Settings Menu. Selecting Location Services and set the switch to OFF for the Camera.

In iOS3 or older, head to the General section of the Settings Menu, then select Reset. Select Reset Location Warnings, and then select Reset Warnings. When you restart the Camera app on your iPhone, select Don't Allow when prompted for location use.

Android

Start your camera and slide open the menu. Select Settings and check to see that the Geo-Tag Photos option is set to OFF. If not, set it to OFF.

Blackberry

Start your camera application from the home screen, press the Menu button, then select Options. Scroll to the geotagging setting and set it to Disabled.