April 9, 2013

The Whole Picture

Photos you take with a digital camera contain hidden information, called exif data, about the photo itself, the camera’s manufacturer and model, and even its’ specific serial number.

The website I learned this from lets you upload a picture taken with your lost or stolen camera and compare its’ metadata to a database of indexed serial numbers. That’s a neat service which I’m sure not many people outside the professional photography world are aware of.

Now here’s the thing: An increasing number of cameras now include GPS chips that embed the geolocation coordinates of the captured photos, often without the user’s knowledge. In fact, this is how McAfee’s fugitive founder, John McAfee was captured 4 months ago.

Vice reporter Rocco Castoro had taken a photo of him on-the-run to prove his exclusive” interview was authentic, which eventually gave away McAfee’s hideout location to the authorities after the exif data was extracted.

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