FBI Issues Warning to the Websites For Mobile Users Who Send Photos Over the Internet

Some messages just require you stop, take note, and share with your readers.  As you well know, this site is devoted to the advantages for small businesses to have separate websites for mobile phones in their marketing mix.

Today we’ll take a breather from our normal mode of offering great prices on a mobile website for your business and instead, “take your breath away” with this information from the FBI.  That said, when I saw James Myers’ article this morning in the PottsdownPatch, it was obvious this message needs to get around, so please SHARE this article with your friends.


The FBI is warning citizens with smartphones to be wary of posting photos from your mobile device. You may be sharing more than just a pretty picture.

With the ubiquitous presence of smartphones and social media platforms in all of our lives, sharing photos has never been easier. Millions of pictures are uploaded to the Web every day and camera-enabled mobile phones are the perennial top-selling consumer electronic devices. So it’s a safe bet that even more photos will be cropping up on image-hosting communities and personal websites.

But what exactly is being shared?

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Click On Picture To Read FBI Full Report

According to a release issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in some cases, you might unwittingly be letting others know where you live and work and your travel patterns and habits. These details can be revealed through bits of information embedded in images taken with smartphones and some digital cameras and then shared on public websites. The information, called metadata, often includes the times, dates and geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) where images are taken.

While the geospatial data can be helpful in myriad web applications that plot image locations, it also opens a door for criminals, including burglars, stalkers, and predators. It’s not a stretch to imagine young teens’ images of their ventures to the mall or beach being culled by web predators and meticulously plotted on online maps.

“It’s not something we think is happening. We know it’s happening,” said Kevin Gutfleish, head of the Innocent Images Intelligence Unit in the FBI’s Cyber Division. The unit provides analysis and assessments of emerging threats for the operational arm of the Innocent Images National Initiative, which targets child pornography and sexual predators.

“The way that images are being posted in real time allows others who have access to see the metadata and see where the photos were taken and reveal their location at that time,” Gutfleish said.

An intelligence analyst in the FBI Criminal Division’s Crimes Against Children Unit said these details can reveal a “pattern of life,” particularly when images posted over time are clustered in geographic locations.

“It doesn’t have to be in real time to be dangerous,” said the analyst. “Historical data can tell you a lot about individuals’ day-to-day habits and may indicate where they are most likely to be at a certain time.”

Some popular social media sites automatically scrub metadata from images before they are published. On the other hand, some leverage the data to display location information beside the images. An amateur sleuth could easily pinpoint a location using the available latitude and longitude coordinates.

“Even if they don’t intentionally say where they are, the photos could reveal that,” Gutfleish said. “And that could present a potential danger.”

Gutfleish said he has seen an increase in intelligence reports and complaints about the potential misuse of the metadata embedded in photos. He said the proliferation of online tools that aggregate personal information from social networking and image hosting sites is enough to urge a level of caution.

He suggests mobile phone users at the very least check the “options” or “settings” on their phones (and any applicable mobile applications) to see if they are sharing location information. In many cases, the default setting is to share location information.

“It’s just a best-practice if you don’t want to give out your location,” Gutfleish says. “We simply want to make sure people know this is happening.”

Disabling the Location Function

Disabling the photo geotagging function on mobile phones varies by manufacturer, but is generally a straightforward process. On the most current iPhone model, users can simply find the “Location Services” toggle in there “Settings folder.”

The path to location-based services options varies from phone to phone. Users should take special care when enabling or disabling location services (which may include navigation functions), or disabling applications (like photos) accessing the GPS data. Consult your phone manufacturer’s guidelines for more information.


More on Websites for Mobile Users Warning

Thank you to the PottstownPatch for this article.  Click on the link, websites for mobile users warning, to read the full article.

Please help us get the word out about the danger of innocently sharing your habits by virtue of simply sharing your photos with your family and friends while using your mobile phone.  If you are glad we brought this to your attention, please LIKE us and do SHARE this with your friends.


Savvy Retailers Who Cater to Websites for Mobile Phones Will Be the Big Winners

Recently the stats from eDigitalResearch and IMRG show that retailers and shop owners who can do the counter-intuitive thing will win the hearts and the business of the consumers using websites for mobile phonesThese are shoppers who expect low prices as well as good service.

They appreciate the retailer who makes accessing the internet while in their store easy, all the while knowing customers are using that access to search for a better deal.   What they really appreciate are some of the concepts brought to our attention by writers over at “Talking Retail“.

As a business owner or manager, you will find valuable information in this article on how to turn the consumers’ quest for the best deal to your advantage.  The statistics within will make you aware of opportunities available to you.  Concepts you can use while doing your mobile keyword research, your mobile website design, and your mobile SEO or search engine optimization.

Use the statistics you find and make lemonade out of lemons!


Consumers turn to smart phones when out shopping

websites for mobile phones, mobile website design, mobile seo, websites for mobile

Ways To Gain Customer Loyalty

Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers have used their smart phone to access websites while out shopping, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG, as retailers begin to offer free wi-fi to in-store customers.

Emails, retail websites and social media sites are the most popular to visit, with 59%, 50% and 48% of consumers respectively saying that they have all accessed these when out shopping on the high street.

A “staggering” 62% of these people have accessed a mobile retail site while in the store of another retailer, marking both a “threat and an opportunity for high street and multichannel brands”.

Of these, 71% said that they did so to check if they could get a product cheaper elsewhere. Another 14% said that they did so to read customer reviews, whilst just 4% said they were looking at other retailers’ sites for a similar product.

Perhaps more importantly, 40% of these browsers have gone on to make an actual purchase. 65% said that the reason behind the transaction was down to price, whilst another 26% said they did so due to a special or limited offer on specific products at another retailer. Only 7% said that an online only offer was the reason behind their purchase.

Derek Eccleston, research director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “Mobile is increasingly becoming the cement between stores and websites. If retailers want to drive their mobile strategies forward with mobile sites, shopping apps and localized deals, then it is important that they offer customers to ability to connect.

“As John Lewis rolls out free wi-fi across all of its stores, and as Tesco continues to trial the idea, a quarter (25%) of consumers are telling us that they would use their mobiles more while they shop if free wi-fi was more readily available, highlighting the importance for retailers to consider the possibility and the potential an in store internet connection could offer them”.

The results also highlight the growing use of QR codes by retailers to enhance shopping experiences. Over half (55%) have seen a QR code whilst out shopping before, yet just under half (46%) know how to use them. 33% of these have scanned a QR code whilst out shopping before, representing just 15% of all shoppers.

David J Smith, chief marketing and communications officer at IMRG, said: “The results of this research further reinforce our expectation that this could be the first truly mobile Christmas for retailers.

“The development of a multichannel strategy is becoming absolutely crucial for consumer engagement, as demonstrated by consumer willingness to shop around at alternative retailers even within another retailer’s store.”

QR codes are one to watch as, although only 46% know how to use them, they are increasingly becoming a staple in retail marketing. If they are felt to have serious potential by a large retailer, a campaign centered around scanning them to gain access to savings for example could really increase their perceived value to consumers.”
Source: eDigitalResearch and IMRG

Learn more from “Talking Retail” here about websites for mobile phones.

Turn Consumers’ Quest for the Best Deal into Your Best Customers with Websites for Mobile Phones

Discover more about the foundation for websites for mobile and get tips on mobile website design.



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