Don't Forget To Hide The Metadata When Protecting Your Sources

from the finding-deep.throat dept

Yesterday, we pointed to a Washington Post article about botnets. The article was definitely a fascinating read, helped along by the story, weaved throughout the article, of one young botnet herder, who remained nameless (other than an online handle). Part of the agreement he apparently made with the Washington Post was that his small town not be identified either. The article contains a few random details which could apply to just any number of small towns throughout the country -- so they seemed safe enough. However, there was also a tightly cropped photo designed to not really give away any info in the image. Unfortunately, as many people have learned, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to data associated with digital files, and it didn't take long for some Slashdot readers to take a gander at the photo's metadata, and work out the probable location of the young man. Some are wondering if the Washington Post (who famously kept Deep Throat's identity secret for three decades) may now face some sort of liability should the individual actually be revealed through this bit of metadata sleuthing.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    paperchick, 21 Feb 2006 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Digital image redaction is so easy

    y'all have never worked at a paper, have you? the reporter, while responsible for keeping his/her source secure, doesn't drop the images on the page -- that's the work of the editors and photo guys who do the actual page layout. so why would the reporter be responsible for that? hell, most of them are doing good to use a computer, much less understand one.
    sheesh, people. think.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.