Now you know why

On the average, a post on social media reaches at least 1,000 people... and a lot of your personal information is exposed to the public.

The Data Privacy Act of 2012 defines personal information as “any information whether recorded in a material form or not, from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would directly and certainly identify an individual.”

Personal information becomes sensitive when it reveals an individual’s “race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color and religious, philosophical or political affiliations... health, education, etc.” It is strictly confidential when it includes “an individual’s name, biometric information, genetic information, photo and video, mobile number, email addresses... and signature.”

When one is aware about the risks in posting on social media, one can always set his profile on private rigorously. Despite this, he is still susceptible to privacy attacks with him being clueless that he is being attacked.

According to “Hidden Privacy Risks in Sharing Pictures on Social Media,” each piece of photo or video shared on social media has “hidden privacy violations stored in their metadata.” When a photo or video is posted or shared, by you or by a “friend” or “friends of friends,” it also uploads metadata for the media.

Metadata is data about the photos and videos shared to social media. It includes technical information such as the “camera’s shutter speed, color spectrum, lens model, lens maker, camera model, and camera maker.” It also contains “the camera’s identifier number, the GPS coordinates of where the photograph or video is taken and more.” Moreover, when these are posted, the platform or website captures the “GPS coordinates” and attach them to the post.

By sharing on social media, these metadata are exposed. As they can be used to track you down, this becomes a threat if you would like “to keep information like... home address, favorite locations, place of work, and more, private.”

According to poll results, “over 40% of all posts on social media are done at the user’s home and 80% were taken at their 10 most visited places.” To confirm the results, researchers monitored posts posted by participants for a period of three weeks. At the end of the monitoring, they were able to ascertain “85% of the participants’ home as well as their top 5 most visited locations.” The locations were identified by “reading the metadata of the photos and videos shared, the geospatial tags from the posts, including check-ins on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.”

In other words, a single post, by you or by a “friend” or “friend of friends,” will potentially expose your identity, your location and the places that you frequent, etc.

In the Philippines, average time spend online is 10 hours daily, of which 4 hours are spent on social media. Most used social media platforms include Facebook, You tube, FB Messenger and Instagram. According to projection, there will be an approximate 58 million social media users by the end of 2020. It is projected that in 2023, social network users in the Philippines will reach 62.5 million.

The Bill of Rights under the 1987 Constitution provides “the right to be free from undesired publicity or disclosure and as the right to live without unwarranted interference by the public in matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned.” Simply, the right to be left alone.

The Civil Code of the Philippines states that “every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons.” It identified acts that can make a person liable for damages caused to other people. Social media can be “used as a medium and place of commission of the offense.”

In a landmark decision on social media privacy, the Supreme Court declared that, “Nothing is ever private on Facebook.” According to the court, even when media is tagged as private, they never really escape public viewing, “including unintended audience.”

The Supreme Court cited “self-regulation as the best defense against breach of privacy, especially among the tech-savvy selfie generation.” The duty of privacy protection is delegated to the online user themselves.

The court added, “It is, thus, incumbent upon internet users to exercise due diligence in their online dealings and activities and must not be negligent in protecting their rights. Equity serves the vigilant... We cannot afford protection to persons if they themselves did nothing to place the matter within the confines of their private zone.”

Ergo, every time I slip away whenever there is a photo session, please do not look for me. You know why.

Real Carpio So lectures at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. He is an entrepreneur and a management consultant. Comments are welcomed at [email protected] Archives can be accessed at

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.

Topics: Green Light , Data Privacy Act of 2012 , photo and video Metadata , social media
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