WARNING: Your Hookup Selfie May Reveal Where You Live
Whether you’re young or old, most gay men nowadays have GPS location enabled smartphones that take the highest resolution bathroom and gym mirror photos with the press of a thumb.
In the past, the most a discreet gay guy had to worry about was making sure certain personal items were not accidentally photographed in the shot with him. Now these photos sent to potential one-night-stands and down low encounters come bundled not only with your image, but also metadata that includes a direct line of site to your bedroom.
What does all this mean?
In Layman’s Terms (aka “Real Nicca Speak”): Dudes can find out where you (or your parents) live with the information stored in your Hookup Photo.
Many gay men think they’re keeping their identities and privacy intact by only revealing their first name and a heavily cropped photo on hookup websites and apps. The truth of the matter is modern camera phones also store the GPS location information of where the photos were taken deep inside the digital information called “Metadata.”
What is Metadata?
Metadata has been around for quite some time. In addition to location data, information on how and what conditions the photos were taken is also stored. In theory, this is actually a pretty great feature. It allows you to recreate the look, location and conditions the photos were taken in many years after the fact if desired. Many modern photo applications allow you to see all of your photos on a digital map, pretty cool if you travel around the country or world a lot.
So those standard mirror photos like the ones featured below often has the GPS information stored and easily obtainable within them.
I’ve tested this out on photos men have sent me in the past through text messages as well photos exchanged on some of the popular gay dating websites and mobile apps.
So how can you tell if this is the case with your old, shirtless photos from two years ago that you’re still using to get sex or a date (even though you’re not in the same good shape and look a lot older now)?
Digging Into The Metadata
Obviously, for this demonstration, I won’t use actual photos sent by the men who wanted me to put my Sword in their Stone. Instead I’ll dig into my photo gallery and grab a couple random shots I took last year in downtown Atlanta.
Nothing special. For all those familiar with the city of Atlanta, you’ll recognize that these photos were taken right outside the infamous Metro Mall where “KickAss Mall Cop” Darien Long used to taser drug dealers and ghetto mothers before he was arrested and subsequently fired:
Anyway, I load these photos up into my Apple Computer’s iPhoto application and here’s what I see:
As you can see, the date, time, shutter speed, the ISO, the F-Stop and even the name of the phone I used to take the photo is stored in the image over six months later and easily accessible. See that little map in the bottom right corner of the page? That’s the software telling me exactly where the photo was taken.
Check this out. In another program called “Preview” I open the image and select the “Show Inspector” option which shows me this:
Can you believe this? Longitude and Latitude, Altitude, Image Direction and even if the image was taken Above Sea Level. Again, this would be pretty awesome if I were an explorer or a hiker or Indiana Fucking Jones…But most of us aren’t.
I click on the “LOCATE” button and Google Maps instantly pops up showing me a Bird’s Eye View of the place I took the photo.
Now imagine this was the guy you just met online that you sent your photo to…looking up where you work out…where you live…Or where your parents live…He could use Google Street View to even see what kind of car was parked in your driveway.
These photos can inadvertently reveal where you live.
So what does it matter, some may say. If you’re going to tell him where you live eventually anyway, what does it matter?
In this digital age where we all freely share details about our lives on Facebook and Twitter, privacy should still be a concern. There are some unstable people in the world.
Your first date with a guy shouldn’t be at your home, at least not until you’ve gotten to know enough about him to trust him and even then its a risky endeavor. Especially if you don’t live alone or you’re overly cautious about being outed by messy individuals, which can affect your career.
No matter the reason, you should be the one that decides when to reveal where you live or workout to a potential one-night-stand or date. This decision shouldn’t be made by your Hookup photo’s Metadata.
How To Remove The GPS Information in Your Photo
First, let’s look at the camera phone itself. Here’s how to stop the smartphone from storing this information the the first place. Like over 50 million other people in the world, I have an iPhone so I’ll use that for this walk through. Android and Windows Phone settings may be slightly different but the process should be easy to translate.
1. Open up your SETTINGS.
2. Tap on the PRIVACY option and navigate to the LOCATION SERVICES settings.
3. Here you’ll see all of the applications on your phone that uses and stores your location information. Scroll down to the CAMERA option and turn this function OFF.
From now on, the photos taken with your iPhone will not store GPS information unless you switch this tab back to green.
(Side Note: To be safe, I also disable Location Services for updates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well.)
Now let’s move to the photos you already have. Turns out there is no easy way to simply remove the data from the images without downloading and installing extra programs.
So we’ll get a little creative with some workarounds.
The old photos in your phone that already have the GPS data embedded into them, pull one of them up full screen. Now press & hold the Home button and the Power button quickly. The screen should flash white. Your phone has now taken a screenshot of itself and saved the new photo in your library.
Remember we’ve already disabled the saving of GPS data, so the new photo will not have your address embedded into it and is now safe to send to the muscled, tatted-up former gay porn star that you met on Jack’d last night.
For non-iPhone users, or people who have their self pornography saved on their computers, try this simple method:
1. Open up the photo in a basic photo viewing/saving application.
2. Save the photo from a .JPG or .PNG file to a .GIF file instead. The .Gif format was originally created to be as small and stripped down as possible so it doesn’t save bloated information like Metadata.
As you can see from the Properties of the same images shown above, the new Gif version contains no GPS information.
There are may ways to achieve the goals listed above, however these methods are a good start.
This process also serves to show you that no matter how private, discreet or down low gay men think they are, there’s always something to show that they’re not as undetectable as they think they are.
Happy hunting fellas, be safe!
– Nick D
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