When you take a picture with your digital camera or phone, your camera saves additional information describing the camera, location and the date and time the picture is taken. This additional information, or metadata is saved in the picture file and travels with the picture when you copy or upload it somewhere else. The personal information contained in the metadata can be used to compromise your privacy and security. If your phone is GPS capable, it likely saves location metadata together with the pictures. Location metadata includes geographic coordinates which can be used to discern your physical location. If for example, you took pictures at your home and posted the pictures online; anyone viewing the pictures can obtain your street address through a quick map lookup. Metadata also includes the date and time the picture is taken. This is usually not a privacy concern by itself; but date/time metadata can be combined with other pieces of data to obtain more information about you. Camera model is almost always saved with the picture. Some cameras also save information about the environment, and even the lens used. When combined, equipment metadata essentially turns metadata into a fingerprint that can be used to identify a photographer from a couple of pictures. Cameras also embed thumbnails inside the photos. Thumbnails are small-size versions of original pictures. Thumbnails help identify pictures quickly since your camera and computer can read thumbnails much faster than the original large pictures. This is a nice convenience but it can also be a security concern. This is because, editing the original picture does not necessarily alter its thumbnail. For example, if you edited the original picture to redact or obscure part of a picture, the thumbnail can still give away the redacted information. Picture Sanitizer helps you protect your online privacy by removing such sensible information from your digital photos.
It’s easy to think that all you need to carry with you these days is a smartphone and you’re ready for anything. But some extended periods away from my desk have discovered four things that are ‘must-haves’ for the traveller.