Discover more from Natalia Mitigates The Apocalypse
Yes, you CAN be tracked down to a random motel parking lot
But by studying geolocation methods, you can also make better choices online!
I posted this photo on my Twitter, knowing that figuring out my location in this one would appear very hard for some people:
At first glance, there’s really not much going on here, right? A needle in a haystack situation, right?
Hahahaha. Not really. It took a little over an hour for the first person to correctly and precisely locate me and Pikachu:
As always, I sincerely appreciate the breakdown of a person’s methods in geolocating me, and I think this is the best, most succinct one:
It’s very important to note that Chief was not looking at my photo in isolation. NO GEOLOCATION EXPERT LOOKS AT A PHOTO IN ISOLATION IF THEY CAN HELP IT. And neither — hello, hi! — do potential stalkers.
Here is the turn-off into that very same parking lot, helpfully provided by Chief:
And here is a very good extra hint provided by PG, who geolocated us first:
Ken Campbell, who is a veteran of these challenges, also chatted with me about his route to geolocating us eventually. His route was a long one, so I won’t reproduce it here, but as we discussed — everyone arrived at the same place eventually, including, for example, Dan, who said that it took him about an hour after he started:
For another good tweet about how past social media posts can be helpful in a potential search, see here:
Please consider that the big tower in the background is very helpful to geolocation experts (and any and all stalkers!) as well:
Why was this exercise important?
For one thing, I wanted to demonstrate that even a “difficult” geolocation challenge doesn’t have to be THAT difficult.
More importantly, and in the spirit of this newsletter, please consider the mere fact that people can easily zoom on the tiny details in your photo, cross-reference them with your other social media posts — i.e., your data ecosystem — and absolutely find you!
Here is just one hint I had previously posted, before I launched the challenge. Notice that a motel (and what was a sink that leaked everywhere, ughhhh) came up:
You don’t need to be necessarily be worried about how easily you can be tracked, but you should be conscious of it. As I was explaining to a confused person on Twitter just the other day, you never know how or in what context your data can be used.
Bitter exes, malicious bosses, weirdos and randos — they’re out there, the bastards, and many of them have these skills already. As time goes on, more and more people will acquire them.
This is one of the reasons why I started this newsletter. We’re living in a time of upheaval, and a little control can go a long way. Oh, bad people are growing smarter about data? Well, so should you.
Life is not an X-Files episode (not yet, anyway, although remember that time the Navy confirmed that UFOs were real earlier this year and everyone kind of ignored it? Ahaha, good times), but it can get a little weird from time to time. And as the outmost internet expert on weirdness, I am happy to help you through these times — by helping you get smart, and snappy, and prepared. You owe it to yourself in times like these!
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