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Posts Tagged ‘safety’

You’re at a quaint little restaurant in Paris, or a beautiful park in some obscure little town and think, “Wouldn’t it be great to let the world know about this?” With geotagging that is exactly what you can do. Geotagging is a form of metadata (think of metadata as data about data, kinda like the description you give your photos on social networking sites. That’s metadata.) that can be attached to a pictures and videos and other things like that. Now unlike a description a geotag is not physically seen.

It is a strand of embedded metadata that gives the viewer the ability to find the exact longitude and latitude of the place where the picture was taken. Then using anything from a GPS to just typing in the coordinates on Google, whoever viewed the picture can pinpoint the location and visit it themselves. But can geotagging raise a question of personal security? Recently Adam Savage (co-host of Discovery’s Mythbusters) took a picture of his vehicle at his home and uploaded it to Twitter. Unbeknownst to him in doing so he also embedded the exact location of his residence.

This is when both security and ethics come along in geotagging. Like anything that deals with the Internet and the world wide web being security smart is always top priority. It is easier now more than ever for some obscure person to find out almost anything about another person just by a simple search. So is geotagging a compromise on personal security? The simple answer to that question is no.

As with anything that is public it is the duty of the user to ensure that any personal info they don’t want getting out stays secured. Now what if you have an instance in which you forget to turn off things like geotagging? I mean we are all only human and I am sure that Mr. Savage had no deliberate intention of revealing his location. What do we do in that case? This is where ethics would come Into play.

For a lot of people on social networking sites they have friend bases comprised of many whom they don’t personally know (and even if they do know them it still doesn’t mean they can entirely trust them.) people are bound to look up the coordinates of someones location whether posted intentionally or not. But does that give us the right to? What if someones phone, by some off chance, accidentally takes a picture while inside their pocket, becomes geotagged, and gets posted? Sure it may sound far fetched but the possibility is still there.

This is the point where the viewer should decide if it is truly ethical to find the location at which this picture was taken. Some will and some won’t. Still the bottom line here is this. If you don’t want your every move document for the whole world to see TAKE PRECAUTIONS. Shut off your geotagging abilities, lock your phone, and be smart. Remember, once something gets put on the Internet it will inevitably remain there even if you thought you deleted it.

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