New Zealand Herald: Woman exposes Tinder date’s double life using X-rated pic and Google. “It can be difficult to tell the Romeos from the love rats when it comes to online dating but one woman managed to expose her date’s double life using two simple tools — a d**k pic and Google.” When I first started reading this story I was worried that she had done some kind of reverse image search with the picture. Not the case, and an interesting story about researching with all the evidence at your disposal.
Motherboard: This Company Built a Private Surveillance Network. We Tracked Someone With It. “This tool, called Digital Recognition Network (DRN), is not run by a government, although law enforcement can also access it. Instead, DRN is a private surveillance system crowdsourced by hundreds of repo men who have installed cameras that passively scan, capture, and upload the license plates of every car they drive by to DRN’s database. DRN stretches coast to coast and is available to private individuals and companies focused on tracking and locating people or vehicles. The tool is made by a company that is also called Digital Recognition Network.”
Wired: Your Old Tweets Give Away More Location Data Than You Think. “An international group of researchers has developed an algorithmic tool that uses Twitter to automatically predict exactly where you live in a matter of minutes, with more than 90 percent accuracy. It can also predict where you work, where you pray, and other information you might rather keep private, like, say, whether you’ve frequented a certain strip club or gone to rehab.”
Motherboard: I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone. “T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T are selling access to their customers’ location data, and that data is ending up in the hands of bounty hunters and others not authorized to possess it, letting them track most phones in the country.”
BuzzFeed News: Instagram Influencers Are Using The California Wildfires To Sell Products And Post Nudes. “[Jeremy] Kost, an artist who posts drag and nude photos, is one of many Instagram influencers and businesses who’ve been sharing Instagram posts using the location, hashtag, or keywords associated with the fires for personal or promotional content. The result is that anyone searching for hashtags related to the fires will encounter meditation shots, sales pitches, nudes, and a bevy of attractive photos of influencers alongside posts showing the depth of the devastation.”
CNET: This location-sharing app exposed 1.7 million passwords — and some nudes. “Apps that allow you to share your location and activity can leave your data and personal information exposed, according to a recent finding by the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, which is based in Darmstadt, Germany. As reported by Forbes, the study found that tracking apps made for families and couples to monitor their loved ones can easily be intercepted and allow hackers to spy on the phone user.”
Krebs on Security: Why Is Your Location Data No Longer Private?. “The past month has seen one blockbuster revelation after another about how our mobile phone and broadband providers have been leaking highly sensitive customer information, including real-time location data and customer account details. In the wake of these consumer privacy debacles, many are left wondering who’s responsible for policing these industries? How exactly did we get to this point? What prospects are there for changes to address this national privacy crisis at the legislative and regulatory levels? These are some of the questions we’ll explore in this article.” A thorough deep dive, as you would expect from Mr. Krebs.
Thinknum: Here are the top places people check-in and take selfies on Facebook. “When Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) opened up its ‘Were Here’ counters in 2012, marketers and investors alike foamed at their respectives mouths like hungry cats. That’s because for the first time, they had a social media metric that combined how people perceived a brand online with real-world location data. Facebook’s Were Here count measures how many check-ins, mobile device shares, and photo location tags have been created at a business. It’s a powerful measurement tool because it shows where Facebook users are actually going when they’re not just sitting at home clicking “Like” buttons. We’ve been tracking Were Here counts at Thinknum for years.”
Ars Technica: US spy lab hopes to geotag every outdoor photo on social media. “Imagine if someone could scan every image on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then instantly determine where each was taken. The ability to combine this location data with information about who appears in those photos—and any social media contacts tied to them—would make it possible for government agencies to quickly track terrorist groups posting propaganda photos. (And, really, just about anyone else.) That’s precisely the goal of Finder, a research program of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s dedicated research organization.”
Motherboard: How to Scrub GPS Data from Your Photos. “So you want to help protect wildlife and scrub the GPS data that might be embedded in your photos? Great! First, know that when you upload an image to a majority of popular social media sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), the EXIF data (where location info can hide) is automatically deleted. ‘But Asia,’ you say, ‘Who knows if they’re actually deleting the data. I have to nuke the EXIF myself. It’s the only way to be sure.’ You’ve convinced me with that Aliens reference. Here’s a brief, non-comprehensive walkthrough to make sure your images are squeaky clean.”
Lifehacker: How Apps Use Your Photos to Track Your Location . “If you’re worried about apps tracking your location, it’s not enough to limit your location sharing. You need to limit camera-roll sharing too. If you’ve ever given an app access to your camera roll—to take photos, or store screenshots, or any given reason—you’ve also let it see where all those photos were taken. Felix Krause, an iOS developer and security writer, built an app to demonstrate this back door…”
Phys.org: CU Boulder to create digital archive of 1.7 million Rocky Mountain botanical specimens. “University of Colorado Boulder researchers and collaborating institutions have been awarded $2.9 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a comprehensive digital archive of over 1.7 million plant specimens native to the southern Rocky Mountain region. CU Boulder will serve as the lead institution of an interdisciplinary consortium composed of 38 collaborating partners, which includes universities, botanical gardens, national parks and Native American Nations, who will help compile and cross-reference the specimen data. Specimens from areas of the 10-state region of the Southern Rocky Mountains and High Plains will be located, imaged, entered into a central database and georeferenced.”
Social Media Examiner: How to Create a Snapchat Geofilter on Your Phone. “Want to design Snapchat geofilters on the go? Have you seen the Snapchat in-app geofilter creation tool? In this article, you’ll discover how to easily create and purchase custom Snapchat geofilters from within the mobile app.” Very step-by-step.
New York Public Library: Surveyor Geotagging Tool Puts NYPL Photos on the Map. “Today, we’re proud to release Surveyor, our new website for crowdsourced geotagging of NYPL’s photo collections. With Surveyor, we invite everyone who is interested in the history of New York City to try and determine the locations depicted in these mostly unlabelled photos. With your help, we will create a database containing the geographic locations of our photos, and this data will be available for everyone to use and download. We’ll start small, with around 2,500 photos from five collections, but we will add more of the Library’s photo collections later (you can find a list of these collections on Surveyor’s About page).”
PLOS: Social sensing of urban land use based on analysis of Twitter users’ mobility patterns. “A number of recent studies showed that digital footprints around built environments, such as geo-located tweets, are promising data sources for characterizing urban land use. However, challenges for achieving this purpose exist due to the volume and unstructured nature of geo-located social media. Previous studies focused on analyzing Twitter data collectively resulting in coarse resolution maps of urban land use. We argue that the complex spatial structure of a large collection of tweets, when viewed through the lens of individual-level human mobility patterns, can be simplified to a series of key locations for each user, which could be used to characterize urban land use at a higher spatial resolution.”