John McAfee--anti-virus pioneer, "person of interest" in Belize murder investigation, and launcher of increasingly bizarre media stories--has been captured. It happened after journalists from Vice accidentally published an iPhone photo of McAfee with embedded GPS data.
In case you didn't know, a lot of newer devices store that kind of information, known as EXIF data, in images. EXIF data is helpful in providing details about a photograph's provenance. Remember when that now-famous photo of the Situation Room during the Osama Bin Laden raid started making the rounds? EXIF data revealed the camera's model and settings, plus the editing software used on the image. Cool stuff to know about one of the most iconic photographs of the decade.
But in case you're traveling with a murder suspect, you might not want to share that information. So here's a handy guide to getting rid of it.
Switch off location settings.
Since the Vice photo was published from an iPhone, we'll start there. There's a camera "location services" setting that can be switched off, and, easy enough, you've got a GPS-free photo to share with the world. (The settings changed slightly in iOS 6, so check the details here.) This video tutorial shows how to set the same functions for an Android phone.
Use editing software.
If you want to go through editing software, you have some other options, too. The "Save For Web" function (File, Save for Web & Devices) should scrub the data, but the scrubbing is probably the very last step you want to take before you release your photo, and there's usually a way to do it within your operating system. Here, for example, is a quick tutorial for Windows. (Alternately, if there's not an option for GPS scrubbing on the Windows version you're running, you can download software like Metanull.) On a Mac, it's a little tougher--you'll need some software. Here's a similar software download for Mac, but there are a lot out there. (And Lifehacker has a quick one for Linux users, too.)
Check your social networks.
For those of you who are especially worried about people tracking you down, Facebook and Twitter strip EXIF data and Flickr makes you opt in to using it (although not all third-party clients will do the same). So, be careful when sharing your anti-virus outlaw pics with friends!
And after you remove the GPS location from the picture, attaché the picture to your email, many emails include and IP that gives a close location email source of which it was sent.
Look in the details source of the email sent to you, find its IP and then do a Google search of “IP location” and you can get pretty close to the source location.
Here is a way to play with location of an email.
Email yourself. Looking in the properties of the email
you sent to yourself and find the sending IP.
Enter the IP into
And you will get really close to the senders location
of the IP.
Doesn't all that data get removed just be opening in Photoshop and clicking "save for web"?
You can even do a batch job and re-size/enhance/save many pics automatically.
Thanks robot! I dont enjoy leaving records of my location. I do like the GPS jammers, however, but they arent much use in stopping the location of an email. I wonder, though, who is actually paranoid enough, or criminal enough to even use gps jammers?
@Della, let's see...
... Your neighbor that suspects your a criminal"