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US army warns soldiers against tagging Facebook photographs to keep location secret

Washington, Sat, 10 Mar 2012 ANI

Washington, Mar 10(ANI): The US army has warned soldiers against posting photographs on Facebook that could disclose their location to the enemy and put their lives at risk.


The US military highlighted the threat emanating from the "geotagging" technology built into many smartphones, which can reveal where a photograph was taken.


"Today, in pretty much every single smartphone, there is built-in GPS. For every picture you take with that phone, it will automatically embed the latitude and longitude within the photograph," The Telegraph quoted US Army spokesperson Steve Warren, as saying.


Soldiers should also be aware of the risks of posting photographs to Foursquare, Gowalla and other social media services, he added.


Staff sergeant Dale Sweetnam said Facebook's new Timeline feature, which displays information about past activity on users' profiles, posed more risks because it offers a map of all locations tagged by the user.


"Timeline presents some unique security challenges for users who tag location to posts. good rule of thumb when using location-based social networking applications is do not become friends with someone if you haven't met them in person. Make sure you're careful about who you let into your social media circle," Sweetnam added.


The US Army advice follows the UK Ministry of Defence warning to the British military.


Iraqi insurgents had used geotags embedded in images posted to Facebook to identify the location of helicopters within a US base in 2008. (ANI)


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