Geotagged Photos Pose Security Risks, U.S. Army Warns Soldiers

Deployed service members are urged to turn off built-in GPS when taking photos with smart phones.

armygeotag

armygeotag

During World War II the military warned that loose lips sunk ships, in 2012 it’s warning that iPhone photos could have the same repercussions.

In 2007 soldiers posted photos of their unit’s a new fleet of helicopters online. From that posting, the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound was found and attacked. The U.S. Army is using cases like this as an example for why soldiers should not only be wary of what they post online but how they take photos to begin with.

“A deployed service member's situational awareness includes the world of social media. If a soldier uploads a photo taken on his or her smart phone to Facebook, they could broadcast the exact location of their unit.” said Steve Warren, deputy G2 for the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

Warren cites that most smart phones include built-in GPS that automatically embeds the latitude and longitude in photos. “Someone with the right software and the wrong motivation could download the photo and extract the coordinates from the metadata.”

The military is urging soldiers as well as their families that are on location with them to turn off geotagging on smart phone photos, as well as avoid using apps like foursquare or tagging locations on Facebook Timeline posts.

They warn that even if there is nothing classified about an individual's location, a series of locations posted online over the course of a month can create a pattern that criminals can use, and urge service members and their families to be careful about who they let in their social media circles.

Via. US Army

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