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Poachers Can Use Your Geotagged Safari Photos To Hunt Down Rhinos

Illustration for article titled Poachers Can Use Your Geotagged Safari Photos To Hunt Down Rhinos

Oof, here's one unexpected negative effect of ubiquitous smartphones—a sign asking people to turn off geotagging when they take pictures of endangered rhinos so that poachers can't figure out where they are.

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The photo started making its way across the internet after it was posted by Eleni de Wet, who owns a branding and marketing company in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sure, that means there might be some kind of marketing spin on the photo, but it's also indicative of a larger problem: poachers are using technology to help them find and kill endangered species. So that Instagram photo you snapped on a tourist safari? It might be helping poachers actually hunt those animals.

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This is not a new issue—but the problem is getting worse. As Quartz points out, poaching is on the rise. More than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year alone, 42 percent more than in 2012. And although geotagging and EXIF data is often left in a photo by mistake, technology isn't exactly helping us save the rhinos. [@Eleni_dW]

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DISCUSSION

Is there any way to fake/spoof your geotag data? Someone should do that, take a bunch of nice photos, and send the poachers on a wild goose chase into the middle of nowhere (preferably somewhere dangerous). Lol.