This next image of the EXIF window shows the first half of the Shooting Information for the selected image. The EXIF displays the image file name, the type of camera used and its firmware version. It also shows who owns the camera, if you entered that info into your camera or phone settings. The rest of the info shows the detailed camera settings for the image, should you want to duplicate your efforts or share those camera settings with others.

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The image below shows the same Shooting Information window as above but has been scrolled to see the second half of the info. The bulk of the info pertains to camera setting but please note the section at the bottom as this is something most people are not aware of and may not want to be sharing with the general public!

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Did you know that cameras and phones have the capability of adding the location the photo was taken to the image file? Many people use the GPS function on their smart phones (and some digital cameras) and that automatically activates the location feature throughout the device. Is it a problem? Well, that depends on you and how you feel about others knowing, possibly tracking your activities. I know it sounds paranoid but consider this, you take a photo of your grandchild or child at daycare and post it to show how cute they are. The EXIF info shows your name and includes the very location where the image was taken. Not only that but the last entry in the EXIF shows the actual serial number of the camera. There have been a number of cases in the news where ‘bad guys’ were tracked down and arrested by using the EXIF information from a photo they posted online.

Here is a snippet from Wikipedia about one such case:

In December 2012, anti-virus programmer John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala while fleeing from alleged persecution[15] in Belize, which shares a border. Vice magazine had published an exclusive interview on their website with McAfee "on the run"[16] that included a photo of McAfee with a Vice reporter taken with a phone that had geotagged the image.[17] The photo's metadata included GPS coordinates locating McAfee in Guatemala, and he was captured two days later.[18] To read more than you’d ever want to know about EXIF, check out this Wikipedia link.

Well, tracking someone is a good thing when used legally but remember the big stink about NSA, CIA, FBI and a few other lettered agencies monitoring phone traffic and the web in the search for bad guys? It takes nothing to write a program (BOT) that searches the web looking for EXIF info. Google, Amazon and Facebook already gather personal information for direct advertising purposes. Are they mining your EXIF info in addition to your online activities? How many times have you visited a website only to have a popup ask you to share your location? Every time the EXIF shows up in an image posted on the web, the world has your name, GPS location and the subject matter of the photo. No big deal for most folks but it is something I wanted to bring to your attention because it has the potential of being misused.

So, what do I recommend?

Make a copy of every image you plan to post online and then only work with that copy. Strip the EXIF info from the copy before resizing it to fit the requirements of the site you are posting it to. This accomplishes two things: 1) leaves the original image intact which proves copyright should anyone try to pass off one of your images as their own, (This has happened to artists I know and having the original image with EXIF info proved that they were the owners.) 2) removing the EXIF info also reduces the overall size of the file when saved. When you have thousands of images stored like I do, even saving 2-3% can really add up.

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Thursday the 18th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.