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Thread: Internet Tech Tip of the Day

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    Internet Tech Tip of the Day

    This thread is dedicated to providing internet tech tips that might be useful to fellow members. With the ever increasing importance of the internet as the center of practically everything, it becomes ever more important to exercise appropriate care in our use of it.

    One such tip that I've been wanting to share for a while concerns the ubiquitous but dangerous photo: now, more than ever, we're sharing photos of ourselves, our families and, practically, anything that comes our way. But how many of you are aware that when you share a photo, you're almost always sharing much, much more than just a picture?

    I'm talking about the EXIF metadata that is attached by default to every photo you take. Among other things, these data include the precise time and location where your photo was taken as well as the unique ID number of the device used to take it.

    This can be a very serious problem. For example:

    In December 2012, anti-virus programmer John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala while fleeing from alleged persecution in Belize, which shares a border. Vice magazine had published an exclusive interview on their website with McAfee "on the run" that included a photo of McAfee with a Vice reporter taken with a phone that had geotagged the image. The photo's metadata included GPS coordinates locating McAfee in Guatemala, and he was captured two days later.
    A good practice, at least when uploading photos to the internet, would be to set all your devices to not add EXIF data to those photos by default, if possible. But beware! Even though I changed the appropriate setting on my phone, the pernicious data are still there. So, unfortunately, you need to check your photos to make sure no EXIF data have been attached - even if you followed the appropriate procedure for turning the option off.

    You can easily check your photos for EXIF data, view any EXIF data that have been attached, strip the EXIF data from your photos, and then save your photos to EXIF-free files by using software readily available over the internet. The software I use is a freeware called Irfanview.

    After opening a photo file in Irfanview, simply press Ctrl+S to start the process of removing EXIF data from the file. Next, uncheck "Keep original EXIF data (if JPG to JPG)" in the box of options that appears to the right. For good measure, I always uncheck the following three boxes as well: "Keep original IPTC data", "Keep original JPG-Comment", and Keep original XMP data". Then select your other options, including a new filename if desired, and click "Save". That's all there is to it.



    Please feel free to ask questions in this thread, and I hope you will post your own internet tech tips here too as you discover them!

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    The photo-sharing site in my signature (http://sli.mg) removes EXIF Data automatically. I would very much recommend sli.mg over imgur (As that one has deleted "racist" images in the past).

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