In the age of location-based social media platforms, GPS features in the user’s phone are used by platforms such as Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR, Shopkick, and Loopt to publish the person's location and offer rewards in the form of discounts, badges or points to encourage frequent check-ins. While these rewards and benefits are great, the security risks are also a matter to consider, as the US Army warned its soldiers:
Security risks for the military:
A deployed service member's situational awareness includes the world of social media. If a Soldier uploads a photo taken on his or her smartphone to Facebook, they could broadcast the exact location of their unit, said Steve Warren, deputy G2 for the Maneuver Center of Excellence, or MCoE.
"Today, in pretty much every single smartphone, there is built-in GPS," Warren said. "For every picture you take with that phone, it will automatically embed the latitude and longitude within the photograph."
Someone with the right software and the wrong motivation could download the photo and extract the coordinates from the metadata.
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image credit: U.S. Army Graphic via Army.mil