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Hacks, Technology

DIY Snooping, You Don’t Need The NSA For This Trick.

Thanks to a common ‘security hole’ in on-line images, we don’t need the NSA for some simple snooping.

Just a few years ago most of us didn’t have high-speed internet connections, so publications would compress their photos to keep our browsers from slowing to a crawl. With the right compression the pictures would still look fine, but all detail would be gone. No big deal, we didn’t need your stinking details anyway.

But what I’m finding now, is that with the advent of the high-speed web most of the publications I read don’t seem to compress their images, which results in more available information than first meets the eye. As they say, the truth is in the details. Given my ability to zoom an image (on my iPad) in just a few seconds, a new world opens up if you want to get nosy.

Here’s a trivial example in a recent NY Times story posted from the Davos World Economic Forum. The accompanying picture includes Arianna Huffington and Nicolas Berggruen. But who is the unidentified guy with a shaved head in back of Berggruen. He looks like security, but no, a quick swipe on my iPad reveals that he’s Peter S. Goodman, that he works for The Huffington Post, and that he’s been designated a “Media Leader” in Davos.


Arianna with Nicolas and …. ? Oh right, it’s Peter S. Goodman.

OK, so that’s intriguing but not earthshaking. How about a slightly deeper dive, from another NY Times article that profiles David Davis, an unemployed technology worker. Here’s a picture of him in his study.

Davis Overall

At first glance I wouldn’t think David and I have much in common besides computers, tech, and denim. But, wait, here’s a zoom into David’s reading material, which grabbed my attention, because I’m a well established fan of Lee Child, and Cormac McCarthy. I haven’t read Dick Francis, so perhaps I should take a hint from David’s bookshelf and try some of these titles.


Turns out David and I read a lot of the same books.

So dear reader, the next time you allow a reporter and photographer into your home, keep in mind that the public eye is all-seeing.

And if like me, you don’t have enough to do, you now get to see who’s zooming who



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