PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We love posting our favorite photos on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter to show our friends and family what we’ve been up to. But those innocent snapshots could be revealing a lot more about you than you might think. 3-On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds that they could be opening you up to potential danger, as well because of what is known as geo tagging.
Cristina Parker loves taking pictures with her smart phone.READ MORE: Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Involving Ocean City Beach Patrol Members Under Investigation
She says, “I like to take a lot of photos of my dog and post them on Twitter.”
But one day she got an ominous tweet from the website Icanstalku.com telling her they know where she lives.
Parker says, “I thought it was a little scary. They were accurate to my location from my house. So my immediate response was, ‘what happened, how do you know where I am?'”
Turns out, Cristina’s photos contained GPS information called “geotags” embedded by her smart phone.
Gerald Friedland, with the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley California, says, “The location can be as accurate as plus/minus one meter, depending on the reception of the GPS signal of the device you’re using.”READ MORE: Multiple Faiths Joining Forces To Combat Philadelphia's Rising Gun Violence
Larry Pesce co-founded Icanstalku.com to alert people to geo tags after he discovered a photo of his child revealed her location. He is concerned that it can happen to others.
Pesce says, “For example, let’s take a picture of your nice brand new 50 inch plasma TV at your house and you’re now sharing the location of that TV and an hour later you’re posting a photograph from a 7-11 and now we know that you’re not home.”
In addition to potential robberies, Pesce says geotagged photos open up the possibility of stalking and domestic violence and you don’t have to be an expert to get the information.
He says, “Just about anybody that can operate a computer and do a few right clicks could find out someone’s location.”
So what can you do about it? You don’t have to stop posting pictures. Just turn off the GPS feature for photos on your phone. It won’t affect the other GPS capabilities. Since each phone is different, Icanstalku.com has listed instructions for turning off geotagging for most brands on their website. That website is posted below:2 Mothers, Babies Rushed To Hospital After Being Rescued From Burning Frankford Apartment Building, Officials Say