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Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 6:18pm

Your photos could reveal more than you might think: how to keep your info safe

WVLA-TV
Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 1:30am

Did you have any idea people could track the photos you post online and find you? Well it turns out that some of the photos you take with your cell phone can pinpoint your exact location.

Aside from the locators on cell phones (GPS devices and WIFI signals) there are other ways people can get to your private information. NBC33 talked with a technology specialist at Rent-a-Nerd and he told us unless you delete all that encoded "meta data," your info is public.

"I don’t post many stats updates but I like to post pictures and other things," said local teen, Cody Templet.

Templet is just like any teen. He uses social media to connect with friends on the daily but little does he know, as soon as he presses upload, his information is public.

“Any photo you take with a phone for WIFI enables GPS enabled device now stores metadata in the picture and transfers that metadata long with the picture," said technology expert and Rent-a-Nerd owner, Chip Miller.

Basically there's a way anyone can access your info no matter how private your settings are. You can find out where, when, and even who took that photo.

"I know nothing on the Internet is truly deleted," noted Templet.

“Take the time to clear out that metadata that are free and paid that can take that data out,” said Miller.

But how can you make sure your info is really secure?

“It’s very easy very simple to do,” stated Miller. “Basically you can pull the information out with a third party app or if you have enough skills to pull it directly from the file in the format."

Turning off your locators in your cell phones also help but complete erasing that data is the only guaranteed way your information isn’t floating around.

“That kind of makes me nervous, I don’t like people to know where I am taking pictures," said Templet.

So now Templet will think twice the next time he’s quick to upload a picture to Facebook, no matter how private he thinks it is.

“You think it's private but even if your privacy settings are, someone's always going to see it."

Miller also told me if your getting rid of an old phone whether it's selling, donating or giving it away and you wipe your memory, that data, the contacts, pictures and even credit card info is still retrievable.

With the help of some programs anyone can recover that, too. So Miller says copy over your information a few times or take in your phone to your provider to make sure your info is secure and completely erased.

 

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