'Creepy' App Uses Photo Data to Pinpoint Your Location
Created by 26-year-old Yiannis Kakavas, 'Creepy' is a software package that allows users to pinpoint anyone's location, using geographic data embedded within shared photos. All you have to do is type in a person's Twitter or Flickr username, and hit the 'Geolocate Target' button. The app will then gather all the geographic information available online, via photos that the 'target' has shared online.
Whenever someone shares a photo taken with his or her smartphone, services like Flickr, Yfrog and Twitpic automatically record the location where the shot was taken, and store that geo-tag in the image's EXIF data. 'Creepy' simply uses APIs to scan this data, and display it on a map.
Of course, the location of a single photo can't say too much about anyone. But the more photos a person shares, the more exposed their lives become. Find a subject who's shared enough images, and you'll eventually see clusters of dots around their homes, workplaces, or favorite hangouts.
Sound terrifying? According to Kakavas, that's sort of the point. "I wanted to stress how 'easy' it is to aggregate all the seemingly small and innocent pieces of data people are sharing into a 'larger picture' that potentially gives away information that users wouldn't think of sharing," Kakavas told thinq_. "I think that sometimes it is worth 'scaring' people into being more careful on how much they share online."
But Kakavas thinks 'Creepy' might serve some practical purposes, as well. "I wanted to create a tool for social engineers to help with information gathering," he explained. "I believe Creepy can be of real use to security analysts performing penetration testing for the initial process of gathering information about the 'targets' -- information that can be used later for a number of purposes."