Skip Main Navigation
Skip to Content

Geotagging: How Crooks Can Find You

Did you know that many smartphones and some digital cameras with GPS capabilities encode your pictures with the Latitude and Longtitude of the picture’s location?   While it has great use if you forget where you took those vacation pictures, it also can be a boon to thieves or sex offenders wanting to take advantage.  

This encoding of the picture is known as geotagging.

Once your pictures are posted to the web through websites such as Facebook, Craig’s List, or YouTube, a savvy crook can find the location where it was taken.  So if you take a photo of your adorable elementary school-aged daughter in her bedroom and post it on Facebook or YouTube, a sex offender could potentially find your daughter’s bedroom.

Newer digital cameras no longer include geotagging capabilities—although it can be added on.  

Users beware:  nearly all smartphones have geotagging capabilities, often tied in with the GPS locator technology.  It can be difficult to find the menu to shut it off.  If you find the menu, it can also disable your GPS locator.

The geotagging information is embedded in the photos and videos and is not visible to the casual viewer.  People are unaware it is there when posting and inadvertently can be advertising their location and compromising their privacy.

If you have a smart phone, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm, or others, you can go to the website for directions on how to disable the geotagging.