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Risks of tagging location when uploading photos

Posted: 12:38 PM, Feb 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-17 20:38:50Z

Brian Dawson was looking at Facebook pictures of his cousin’s new baby when he realized he had access to much more than he expected.

“I noticed below the album, it said if you're interested in other pictures click here, So I clicked on it and it took me to Shawnee Mission's main website and from there I realized I had access to hundreds of other photos,” Dawson explained.

He saw hundreds of pictures other Facebook users posted and tagged at the same location as his cousin.

"It's an innocent thing, you think, and instantly it opens up access for the rest of the world to what you may think is a private moment,” Dawson said.

Security Practitioner for 360 Degree Security Steve Nelson said there is a way to avoid sharing by tightening your privacy settings. A sure way to make sure no one else has access to your post besides your friends is by leaving out the location.

"You don't think about it, you don't think about how it can be used perhaps against you,” Nelson explained.

Often by including a location, the photo can travel beyond Facebook.

“Google image search does something similar where everything that is attached to the file, if the location is there, or if you have allowed for the location, it will show that in just a general Google search, so again, be careful what you're telling everybody,” Nelson said.

Tips from Nelson for adjusting your online settings:

"At present Facebook doesn't let your name and picture be used in first or third-party ads. It does, however, reserve the right to do so moving forward unless you actively forbid it.

"Hidden deep within the social site's settings, you can stop your mug being used to push products and companies you might have 'liked' at some point in your social life.

"This I would recommend:  'Ads' in 'Settings' and select the 'No one' option in the 'Third Party Sites' option - unless you want to see you face popping up promoting everything from deodorant and beer or to that adult online site your friends hilariously clicked 'Like' on when you left your account unattended."

For Twitter:

Click on your profile picture  --> settings --> security and privacy --> and check the following boxes:

Photo Tagging --> Check: Do not allow anyone to tag me in photos

Though others can still upload photos of you, you now can't be publicly tagged in them.

Tweet Privacy  --> Check: Protect My Tweets

People will now need your permission before they can follow you (though you will keep all the followers you have now). Future tweets will only be visible to your followers, no one can retweet your tweets, and your tweets will not show up in Google search results.

Tweet location --> Uncheck: Add a location to my tweets  

Limitations: You can't reply to tweets posted by non-followers.

Note: This only works on future tweets; all past tweets will still be public.

If you want to track your online privacy, click here.