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Wednesday, March 14, 2012 

How Facebook's Geotag Photo Feature Helped The Taliban Destroy Four American Apache Helicopters

The US Army has warned snap-happy soldiers of the dangers of geo-tagging photos after such information was used by enemies to locate and destroy four Apache helicopters.

The 2007 incident was recounted by US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) intelligence officer Steve Warren in a statement warning.

“A new fleet of helicopters arrived with an aviation unit at a base in Iraq [and] some soldiers took pictures on the flightline … from the photos that were uploaded to the internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack, destroying four of the AH-64 Apaches,” Warren said.

"If a soldier uploads a photo taken on his or her smartphone to Facebook, they could broadcast the exact location of their unit. Longitude and latitude coordinates in geotagged photos were sufficiently accurate to compromise solider positions. Facebook's timeline exacerbated the problem because it places photos taken by users on a map."

Staff Sergeant Dale Sweetnam
Online and Social Media Division

SC Magazine.com


Whatever one may think of the United States Army or about western military operations in Afghanistan, there is a real security issue here for ordinary folk.


I couldn't find the other article I wanted to link that illustrated the issue with the story of a woman who was seen taking a picture in a public place. To illustrate how geotaging works, the author of that piece snapped a shot of the woman taking the picture and, with a bit of work, was able to trachdown her social networking site to learn her identity, her address and her workplace - right down to pictures of her messy apartment.

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