Smartphone photo tracking concerning parents

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The ability of smartphones to track where photos are taken has many concerned on social media.

A story that a Missouri NBC station did years ago is getting renewed attention on Facebook.

Parents at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire Wednesday said they know there are risks when putting photos of their kids online.

“It's scary, especially with the children's safety,” Brenda Kehoe of Ham Lake, Minnesota, who has two young daughters said.

“You have to be really careful about what you take a picture of, where and when," Eau Claire mother of three, Jessica Wagner said.

“You just gotta be one step ahead of the hackers I guess,” Kehoe said.

U.W. Eau Claire Chief Information Officer Chip Eckardt said it's important to know that hackers see more than the photos themselves.

“When you take a picture with most smart phones and a lot of digital cameras today, it actually is including G.P.S. information. And that info will give you the exact location where you took the picture from,” Eckardt said.

He said there are some benefits to having location settings on phones, like being able to return to a good fishing spot, but for people who aren't using that information should, “You certainly can turn it of permanently, that's the safest thing to do. But it limits your functionality down the road.”

Eckardt said changing the settings on a smart phone to disable those locators and deleting information on pictures that have them isn't hard to do.

“In the back of your mind, you do need to be aware of where that info is going and who has access to that.”

Some parents said they play it safe, and don't post any pictures of their kids online, but others said it's just important to know how to do it safely.

“You could live in a world of fear all your life, and you wouldn't get anywhere in life, so you gotta live life and nowadays with all this technology, you gotta know what the risks are and be ahead of it,” Kehoe said.

For information on how to delete personal information from photos, go to the link below.

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