Digital Photos Reveal Private Details

I had never given it much thought, but we should all be aware that digital photos may contain location information that we may not want everyone to see. Camera phones add this information, which is stored along with the photos. Photo organization programs may also add information to the photos.

The information stored with photos is called metadata. Some online sites, including Flickr and Picasa, keep it with the original photo; others, such as Facebook, remove it.

Keep this data in mind the next time the next time you post photos of your priceless artwork, your gold coin collection, or even photos of your kids. After all, you may not want everyone to have this information. CNN recently highlighted this concern with Digital photos can reveal your location, raise privacy fears.

To view metadata I use a free tool, exiftool. This program tells me exactly what information is included with a digital photo. Other programs are also available.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
This entry was posted in Digital Photos, Facebook, Mobile, Software. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Digital Photos Reveal Private Details

  1. Kathleen says:

    Mark, how concerned should we be about this type ‘danger’. I LOVE digital scrapbooking, & use FB to glean photos from family, but could you share more detail on how this impacts the average ‘grey haired granny (me)’ thanks. *U* Kathleen

  2. Mark Mizen says:

    I would not be excessively concerned, especially with Facebook, since they are currently removing the metadata, It is just something to be aware of, particularly if you are uploading or sharing photos that might attract unwanted attention.

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