Staying safe online is certainly a common topic at the moment, especially with the recent controversy with Facebook’s Messenger app. Ever since the smartphone became a part of everyday life, privacy has been a common subject of conversation-- and debate. We can all remember our parents telling us to stay safe online back when dial-up was the new big thing. But Mammy and Daddy probably aren’t so involved with your online presence anymore and the likelihood is that they now come to you for help with staying safe online – “Should I open this email?”
The unfortunate thing is that it isn’t easy to remain safe on the internet. There are just so many different social networks, so many applications. It seems like the next big app is out every few weeks and it must be downloaded to stay up with your peers. With every app you use likely to have its very own novel of terms and conditions, which you must accept to use the app, it’s a hugely confusing world.
For obvious reasons, one of the most important things to keep safe when using the internet is your location. If you allow them, social networks like Twitter and Facebook will post the location you are whenever you send a tweet or make a post. However, this is usually quite obvious. You’ll notice if your posts are geotagged or not by simply clicking on them and checking if it says your location in blue font. The best thing to do in terms of masking your location is to go into the settings on your phone and find ‘Location Services’. From there, you’ll be able to choose which apps are allowed to have access to your location. I’d recommend turning off as many of these as possible.
However, Instagram has a feature called Photo Map. It’s a very simple but dangerous feature that posts the location you are when you post a photo to this Map which is located on your profile. The public can then check out your Map and see where you’ve been posting from. It could be a cool feature if you were travelling, for example, but the danger comes when people use it without evening knowing about it. I noticed that many of my friends were using the feature, even when posting photos from home and they didn’t even know what I was talking about when I asked them about their ‘Photo Map’.
So, it was time for an experiment. I wanted to know if I could find someone’s house using just their Instagram Photo Map. Check out how I got on in the video below, creepy stuff!
To find out how to delete photos from your Instagram Photo Map, check out Instagram’s help section here.
Follow Eoin's filmmaking adventures on Twitter here: @saoleoin