By Kati Patag
More than just smart, smartphones are intuitive and intrusive all in one, the connectivity we take for granted is both cursed and blessed.
Most people now have them and are utilizing all of the handy applications, Internet accessibility and the included camera.
Did you know these amazing phones could be providing people with information about you?
It is coming out that there is a geo-tracking device in the phones that can link your exact location through pictures that are taken with your smartphone and posted online to your Facebook, Twitter, Gowalla, and Foursquare which allows people to “check-in,” but also sends your whereabouts to Facebook and Twitter.
It does not stop there.
Photobucket and Flickr, mainly used for photo sharing, can also contain this information.
Most social sites have made it very convenient to share where you are and what you are doing by updating your status with your smartphone.
You also are able to provide pictures to back up what you are doing, for that added jealousy factor for your friends.
Let’s face it. Many of us have uploaded photos or videos, but even people who are cautious about what they share on their social networks they are still quite possibly giving out their information to everyone through the camera on their smartphones.
No matter what the pictures are- children, pets, even scenery, according to CNN, if you dig deeper you can find exact locations of homes and even bedrooms of the photos that were taken.
Images contain information and traces left over by your digital cameras.
Exchangeable Image File Format is the data that provides information that can tell the viewer everything about the image, including such details as to if a flash was used in the photo.
This data also gives exact GPS coordinates of where photos are taken meaning even if you are not in the photo, but it was taken at your home the photo is linked to that location.
The information is easily accessed and can be put into websites such as Google Maps where people can look at locations of buildings and homes.
People who do not know a lot about computer security could be disclosing and publishing incredibly personal and private information.
Your phone could be sharing your secrets with other people and can lead to identity theft. For as little as $15 on the Internet, people can purchase software (a literal spyware of sorts) and overtake your phone. This allows them to hear your phone calls, see your text messages, emails, photos and anything else that is on there.
The most common way people become vulnerable is by using a credit card which is used as an instant tap into your personal life, but your phone allows your information to be more accessible than ever.
Without our “permission” our phones are tagging our locations and putting them on the web.
The concern and danger of this is that the average person does not even know that it is there because it is not visible; you have to look for it and manually shut it off.
The website ICanStalkU.com is trying to raise awareness for unintentional information sharing. It provides a step-by-step instruction on how to disable the geotag in your smartphones, IPhone, Android, Blackberry and the Palm Devices so that you can better protect yourself and the people in your life.
Remember, if people can see your photographs, they can access your personal information.