Since you’re now reading this article, you must frequently upload different images online. At the same time, you must be conscious of your personal privacy, pressing you to remove metadata from your photos. Isn’t it?
Well, today, almost every internet user in the world has uploaded at least a couple of photos online. Even the most privacy-freak users have uploaded a picture or two of themselves for verification purposes.
Likewise, most of you would frequently upload videos as well, together with photos. Of course, that’s the only way to share your precious moments with everyone.
However, these photos and videos frequently leak a lot more information about you. While an average person may not need that info, spies, online trackers, and hackers do look for them.
These shady characters exploit your photos for their typical data exfiltration activities.
Likewise, advertisers and social media giants use the information for advertising and tracking purposes.
This piece of worthy personal information about you is the ‘metadata.’
And, if you’re genuinely concerned about your online privacy, you must remove metadata of photos and videos, technically known as the EXIF metadata.
But before learning how to do it, let’s understand what metadata is and why you should be careful about it.
The risky truth of photo metadata
There are very few end users who know about photo metadata and the risks associated with it. So, many are clueless about the amount of data that can be harvested from a single uploaded photo. The Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) which stores the photo metadata can reveal where you are, where you work, or even where you live. People can use the information revealed by photo metadata in various ways. They could use it to stalk and harass you online and offline, while others could mount social engineering and phishing campaigns to steal your identity. While some companies such as Instagram have made efforts to expunge metadata from publicly available photos, the data is still stored in their servers and they can use it for their own benefit. Also, hackers can breach their servers and access your data compromising your privacy.
What is metadata in photos?
If you wish to know what simple metadata is, then it’s just the data for the data. It summarizes what a particular piece of information is all about by mentioning the key details.
Precisely, metadata answers the what, who, when, where, and why of anything.
In the case of photos, the metadata includes these details about the image files. That is, what an image file is, when it was taken, why it was taken, who took that picture, and where it was taken.
Also, this information gets added up with more details as an image file transmits and undergoes modifications.
Technically, whenever you take a picture from any digital device, be it your phone or a camera, this metadata also gets stored within the images. Thus, sharing that image with anyone or anything also transports the metadata with it.
What about the EXIF metadata?
The entire metadata gets stored as the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF). So, it’s the technical term for the metadata associated with digital images and videos – the EXIF metadata.
Specifically, the EXIF metadata includes the following details about an image or video file.