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A few years ago, image recognition on a large scale was restricted to law enforcement and corporate security. Free services like Tineye and Google Images will search billions of indexed images on the internet for identical or similar pictures.This isn’t necessarily traditional hash or metadata specific – cropping or resizing an image is not a foolproof way to defeat this (as I show in the screenshot below, where Tineye and Google correctly identified my profile selfie which is substantially cropped on social media).
This exists primarily to help out professional photographers and photo storage tools. Let’s look at some of the data hidden inside of it: Create Date : 20 Make : Samsung Orientation : Horizontal (normal) Flash : No Flash Focal Length : 4.3 mm GPS Position : 28 deg 21′ 27.100″ N, 81 deg 33′ 29.71″ W Even with location geotagging disabled in your camera settings, metadata still provides a tremendous amount of detail about you and your devices, and can even uniquely identify photos taken with your camera.
The second way your photos can betray your privacy is a bit more technical, but still terribly important to recognize.
It has to do with hidden information, or ‘metadata’, which is tacked onto most pictures by phones, photo editing software, and digital cameras.
The number one open source intelligence source that people with evil intent will try to use against you, or to identify you, is your social media profiles.
You make a malicious person’s life significantly more difficult by simply locking down your social media profiles so that nobody except people you know personally can view them, or that the data that is publicly visible is not enough to provide the attacker an advantage.