'Geo-tracking' allows for cell tracking through social media

Photos could contain data that could pinpoint your location for strangers

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Sep 04 2012 05:58:48 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 04 2012 06:56:16 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

The process called "geo-tracking," a series of simple steps that allows people to extract location data embedded in online pictures, could allow someone to track your movements simply by downloading the photos you post on social media accounts.

Certain photos are embedded with "EXIF" data that can be downloaded via software or online applications.

That data contains GPS coordinates that record where the photo was taken.

A simple Google search with the coordinates can easily pull up the location.

A series of photos taken by a KSAT reporter today were plotted in a matter of minutes.

But there is a way to protect yourself, according to cyber-security expert Kevin Kjosa, who works at UTSA.

“Simply go into the settings on your phone and look for something that says ‘location-services,' or something (similar),” said Kjosa. “Just turn that off, and no EXIF data will be recorded to your phone.”

Certain websites like Twitter have policies that strip that data to any photo uploaded to its site, if it hasn’t been done so already.

But there are plenty of social media sites that don’t have that policy, so users must take matters into their own hands.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.