GEEKNOTE: My business associate Tim Hunt forwarded me a link to an article last week that talks about the the potential danger of posting smart phone photos on the web. The general issue is that GPS enabled phones can encode so-called “meta-data” in the photos, including GPS coordiates, date and time.
The good news is that some of the most popular social media sites (twitter and facebook) automatically strip out the meta-data before displaying photos that you upload. At least some modern smart phones (eg. my brand new iPhone 5) have location data disabled for photos as the default setting. It is worth checking to make sure that your phone has location services turned off for photos, but it is not something to panic over.
This is NOT to mean that you should shoot photos and post away with reckless abandon. A little common sense is called for before you post ANYTHING on facebook or twitter that provides specific information about your current location, ESPECIALLY if you are on a vacation trip. I’m absolutely thrilled to see that you finally made it to Paris and got your picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. On the other hand, so are potential burglars who take comfort in knowing that you will be out of town for the next week or so.
This is actually the same reason I’m not fond of email auto-responders that tell everyone that you’ll be out of town for the next week or two. When someone asks me to set up an auto-responder for them, I’m always tempted to ask them if I should add: “feel free to help yourself to our 50 inch flat screen and all the other electronics in our home while we are gone.”
Posting too much information on the Internet regarding where you will be and when is simply a bad idea.
Feel free to post your travel photos online so we can enjoy them, but PLEASE wait until you get home to upload them.
Likewise, consider how much information you want to share in any auto-responder you set up for your email. “I’m on the road visiting customers today, so call my office if you have an emergency.” is a lot safer than “I’ll be out of the office for the next week while I’m on a week long Carnival cruise.” and still lets folks know that email may not be the best way to catch you.
Consumer Reports has a good article on phone security, with some great suggestions: http://consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/06/keep-your-phone-safe/index.htm
Nanny Cams merit the same attention. It may be great fun to be able to check up on the baby sitter while you are having a night out with your spouse, but be sure that you password protect any security cameras you install around your house so that you are the only one looking around the house while you are away.
As always, feel free to drop me a note or give me a call (847-2424) if you have any questions about your computer or the Internet.
One short postscript: We noted a report at the Volunteer Way has run out of food. Please consider helping them. We’ve got a box at the store if you would like to drop off any canned goods.
Gulfcoast Networking, Inc.