The second way your photos can betray your privacy is a bit more technical, but still terribly important to recognize.
It has to do with hidden information, or ‘metadata’, which is tacked onto most pictures by phones, photo editing software, and digital cameras.
The number one open source intelligence source that people with evil intent will try to use against you, or to identify you, is your social media profiles.
You can’t see EXIF metadata without using special tools, but it may contain startling amounts of information about where the photo was taken, by whom, and when.
This exists primarily to help out professional photographers and photo storage tools. Let’s look at some of the data hidden inside of it: Create Date : 20 Make : Samsung Orientation : Horizontal (normal) Flash : No Flash Focal Length : 4.3 mm GPS Position : 28 deg 21′ 27.100″ N, 81 deg 33′ 29.71″ W Even with location geotagging disabled in your camera settings, metadata still provides a tremendous amount of detail about you and your devices, and can even uniquely identify photos taken with your camera.
These pieces of information put together say a lot more about your location than they do individually. How much information have you posted on your profile over time as you’ve updated it?
How much information are you providing in private conversations with other users?
I highly recommend reading this eye-opening blog on the subject by IOActive.
Give some thought to what people can see in your photos’ backgrounds before posting them to your private dating profile.
You realized a few days later that it was too much of a privacy give-away, and made the wise choice to switch to a new photo. Search engines and archive sites are continually indexing as much content as they can from the internet.
These sites retain cached copies of images and pages long after they are changed or erased at the original source.
The very simplest, a Google search will often turn up social media profiles, forum posts, and blog comments tied to a particular username.