Dangers of Geotagging

The critical question is whether photos already on the web and for future concept of operations are “readable” for the geotagging information. The answer is arguably yes and no. The use of geotagging for social networking sites suggests a plethora of data available for the sole or enhanced purpose of advertising or sharing location and yet there is opportunity for misdirection. Wikipedia provides an interesting footnote.

Dangers of geotagging
Following a scientific study[11] and several demonstrative websites,[12][13] a discussion on the privacy implications of geotagging has raised public attention.[14][15][16] In particular, the automatic embedding of geotags in pictures taken with smartphones is often ignored by cell-phone users. As a result, people are often not aware that the photos they publish on the Internet have been geotagged. Many celebrities reportedly gave away their home location without knowing it. According to the study, a significant number of for-sale advertisements on Craigslist, that were otherwise anonymized, contained geotags, thereby revealing the location of high-valued goods—sometimes in combination with clear hints to the absence of the offerer at certain times. Publishing photos and other media tagged with exact geolocation on the Internet allows random people to track an individual’s location and correlate it with other information. Therefore, criminals could find out when homes are empty because their inhabitants posted geotagged and timestamped information both about their home address and their vacation residence. These dangers can be avoided by removing geotags with a metadata removal tool for photos before publishing them on the Internet. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geotagging)

In regard to the unintended consequences geotagging has listed in Wikipedi for Craigslist and celebrities, it is easy to recognize ill intentions are already using the geotag capability. The intent of GMS is to leverage this vulnerability against such efforts in the Maritime Domain. Hopefully, US forces are preventing the exploitation of this gap against the US and its allies.