The website that knows where your cat lives

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The website that knows where your cat lives.

Fact: Cats like attention. Anyone who’s ever tried to watch the TV around a cat licking its nether-regions in front of the screen will testify to that.

And it doesn’t matter where the attention comes from, of course. Burglars, stalkers, murderers, and, worst-of-all, cold-callers are all just a potential warm lap and a sucker from which to get a stroke.

Some strangers may even have fish—which is probably why cats perpetually broadcast their portraits and location to everyone on the planet.

How are cats broadcasting their location?

OK, technically it’s the hapless humans that broadcast the pictures and location of their lovely-wovely fluff-balls to the entire planet. But it’s not like the cats are doing anything to stop it.

I Know Where Your Cat Lives scours the 15 million cat images on hosting sites (such as Flickr, Twitpic, and Instagram) and pins the cat’s location from the latitude and longitude coordinates embedded in their metadata.

Incredibly, absolutely anyone can grab location-uncovering information from your photos. All the data is available via public APIs provided by the photo sharing websites.

Iknowwhereyourcatlives.com focuses on the cats, but the cat is mostly irrelevant (heresy!). If you can see where a cat lives just from a picture, you can also see where a child lives just from a picture.

Says the website:

“We set out on this adventure with a mission in mind: to point out the ease of access to data and photos on the web.”

The feline image project highlights how companies exploit the data of their customers, and how easy it is for a person to share personal information unwittingly.

The glorious kitty-finding website claims the location of the cat picture can be pinned down to an accuracy of within 7.8 meters (~25ft).

But why are they doing this? They say it’s for public awareness (and kitty pics):

“We sought to showcase how readily available social media users’ information and snapshots are to the general public.”

The only way to remove your cat pictures from I Know Where Your Cat Lives is purrfect

To teach us a lesson, and to highlight how reckless naughty cat-owners are, the only way to remove images from the site is to delete them from your hosting site or change the privacy setting of the image.

Obviously, an internet without cat pictures is entirely ridiculous, so ExpressVPN recommends that you change the privacy settings, pronto.

Doing so, states I Know Where Your Cat Lives, will result in your cat’s removal from the site within 30 days.

Be mindful of what you share online

Be careful what you share online, even if it’s perfect and everyone must see it right now!

If you really must show the whole world how adorable your floof-meister is, use a tool like the Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit to strip the metadata from the photo.


Also published on Medium.

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