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How to Protect Your Privacy When Uploading Photos

written by: Mark Muller•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 10/24/2011

Protecting your privacy when uploading photos essentially means deleting, or editing the image’s meta information. Here’s all you need to view, delete or edit your photos meta information including useful tips & tools.

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    What is Photo Meta Data?

    Today’s digital cameras store information about the photos along with the digital images. In addition to images properties such as dimensions and bit depth can cameras write information like camera serial numbers, date and time of photos etc. In fact some images even store information such as the photographers address or an image’s GPS location. On Windows system you can view your photos meta information in the Details tab of the Properties menu.

    By removing the meta information before uploading your photos you protect your privacy. The tools I am going to show you do not alter the quality of your photos.

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    How to Remove Photo Meta Data

    If you just want to remove photo meta data I recommend you download JPEG & PNG Stripper which operates on JPG/JPEG/JFIF & PNG photos. The executable named stripper.exe works on Windows operating systems without installation, and you can remove your images’ meta information by dragging the photo in the applications GUI. If you want to bulk-remove meta data from photos you can run JPEG & PNG Stripper in command line mode.

    A note to users of Windows Vista: Vista displays a Remove Properties and Personal Information feature in the photo’s properties details tab. When I tested it in one of its two modes (create a copy with all possible properties removed) it failed to remove some meta information – in contrast to stripper.exe shown above.

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    How to Edit Photo Meta Data

    Those looking to edit photo meta (EXIF, XMP and IPTC) information data can download free Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2 or try before you buy Picture Information Extractor 5.2. In rare cases of photos being in the PNG format you can google free Image-ExifTool-7.67 or TweakPNG to view or change meta information stored in Microsoft’s proprietary image file format PNG which neither Pro Photo Tools 2 nor Picture Information Extractor 5.2 seem to support.

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    The Bottom Line

    For the sake of simplicity I would stick with JPEG & PNG Stripper if possible. In any case, before uploading your photos you should check that the tool of your choosing does what it is supposed to do by right-clicking the photo and looking for meta information in the details tab.

    Last but no least: Before uploading photos I would also consider shrinking the quality and inserting a watermark to protect your copyright.


  • Author's own experience