Okay, Faithful Readers. I'm listening to an instructional video on using PaintShop Pro, and the instructor interrupts his teaching to give a lecture on how important it is NOT to geotag any photos in or near your home, because "you don't want other people to be able to find out where you live. It's not safe." Huh? Has he never heard of a telephone book? And now with the Internet it's ridiculously easy to find out that kind of information. Where you live. What taxes you pay. What you paid for your house. Your birthday. Your family members. Your political donations. If you're lucky enough to be a state employee in Florida, your salary. Google will even show you the flowers in my front yard—at least what they looked like at some point in the past. So what if someone can tell from my photograph where it was taken? If anyone wants to do something nefarious, they have plenty of other resources.
I find the feature on my camera that detects and saves location data to be extremely useful. I'm undertaking the incredibly, ridiculously challenging project of organizing many years' worth of photographs, and the only thing that annoys me about embedded GPS data is that it's not available on most of my photos. Even my phone camera, which is the first I've had with GPS information, only began recording that data once I found and enabled the feature.
Privacy has always been very important to me. This may seem odd coming from someone who writes a blog that is shared with the world, but I still consider myself a private person. "Private" doesn't mean I don't share, any more than "introvert" means I don't like people. To me, it means (1) I choose what I share and with whom, and (2) I accept that some things are going to be available to others whether I choose to share them or not. In facing the latter case, I have come to realize that I can either shrink back in fear, or I can accept the small additional risk for the sake of the benefits that have come with new technology and new situations.
My blog audience my not be large, but I know it's diverse, with people everywhere on the privacy spectrum. So I'll ask: What's your take on geocoded photos? Do you use that feature? If you don't, is it because you don't find a need for it, or because, like my photo software instructor, you think it's dangerous? If you are worried about safety, what advantage do you think it gives criminals that they couldn't easily get elsewhere?