In a recent series about people, technology, and nature, Vice highlighted the growing problem of poachers who are using photographer’s GPS data to locate, harass, and kill rare animal species. In the US, one of the more prevalently poached species is the rattlesnake, a species that is almost exclusively North American.
The article, released earlier this week, highlights the extreme measures that preservationists and scientists are having to take in order to keep poachers away from at-risk animals. One of the main methods poachers are beginning to use is Instagram, scanning photographer’s posts for any indication of where the photo may have been taken. In addition to GPS data, poachers are also looking for any type of recognizable landmark in order to locate where a new habitat may exist.
Luckily, most major social media platforms already scrub EXIF data automatically from photos, but someone determined enough can still trace photos back to photographer’s personal websites or portfolios where the EXIF data may still exist.
In an era where technology makes seemingly anything readily available and at our fingertips, it may be time for photographers to exercise even more caution when protecting the locations and subjects of their photos.
You can read the entire Vice article here.
Lead image by Pixabay user Hans, used under Creative Commons.