Avoid the Naked Truth
JPEG files can have a small preview (aka thumbnail) embedded inside Exif. A number of applications show them when image sets are browsed. However, this preview is not always updated when you crop the image.
This can lead to pretty embarrassing consequences: TV host Cat Schwartz exposed herself naked (PC World, Labnol). Striping that preview image is therefore a good thing…
Avoid the Stalking
Sharing photos often means sharing pictures of your family. Nothing is more important than our kids, right? Then you should make sure that those memories posted on your blog are scrubbed of its metadata. Otherwise, its embedded location, date and time will give strangers a whole lot more than you like. NBC Action News explains how easy it is to to track it all (KSHB in Kansas City, MS):
So – you say this won’t happen to you, because you are way too smart, right? Consider this: Adam Savage, the host of the popular TV show “MythBusters” posted a picture in front of his garage on Twitter – including all of its GPS data and time of day (NYT article). The tweet “Now it’s off to work” gave a potential thief not only the street address, but also at what time he left.
Avoid the Leakage
Besides data that smartphones and digital cameras add automatically, image files often also include a number of personal, descriptive information (names, addresses, email, detailed description, ratings etc) that has been added by your image management software or just the Windows File Explorer.
We figured that not everybody wants to dive into file metadata on a forensic level. Luckily, not everybody needs to. At least not Windows users who just want to remove metadata quickly from some photos, before they share them on the big, bad Interweb…
FileMind QuickFix is a Freeware that utilizes the same MetaMind Framework as the heavyweight FileMind Pro software. It’s designed to do just one job, which is to remove any Exif, Iptc/IIM and XMP metadata that may be present in JPEG image files.
Why not more features? Because it’s designed to be a handy, dandy little speed demon without a lot of hassle. Just drop the files in the window, click the QuickFix Metadata button, and its done. You can see it in action in this short YouTube video.
In theory, Microsoft Windows would be all you need, it already comes with a metadata scrubbing feature. You can find it when you click with the right mouse button on the image file and select Properties. The Details tab offers a link at the bottom, called “Remove Properties and Personal Information”. What is thought to be a nice gesture by Microsoft can leave you in the rain: this feature only scrubs a fraction of the embedded metadata, not the entire information (see table left).