Option to hide or remove photo metadata

While iNat takes care of masking GPS coordinates depending on user’s geoprivacy settings, currently there is no provision on iNat web/ios/android apps to strip EXIF tags from pictures. Details of camera (or phone) that are embedded in images can be potentially used for digital fingerprinting.

I think an option to strip camera information while uploading an observation could be useful.

I’d like to add that if it will be added it should be visible for others that exif exists, but hidden, it helps with finding “stolen” photos which most often lack it.

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iNat strips EXIF data from the photos themselves (try downloading a photo like https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/94111045). But it does display that EXIF data on the photo’s page (eg same link as before). Any location-related EXIF data is not displayed publicly if an observation using the photo has a geoprivacy of obscured or private.

So is your request that we not display that information on photo pages?


Such camera EXIF information attributes like Make, Model, Software and any embedded serial numbers could be optional at upload.


My iNat photos show make and model. No serial number. Photographers sometimes ask - what camera do you use?


Here are some random sampling of photos with EXIF:
Maybe the strip function doesn’t work as expected or only works on certain platforms (web/android/ios)?

I request that we not store this information anywhere in first place, for privacy focused users.
Users can always voluntarily opt-in to avail this information at the time of upload, if they wish.

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I agree that there are beneficiaries to this information. My request is to provide an option for users to opt-in or opt-out of collecting and using this device data.

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Thanks. Those are older photos, we’ll need to strip those of EXIF. Anything uploaded since 2017 should not have EXIF.

How do you see this option being implemented? An opt-in user setting?

Personally I think most people who are into hiding their EXIF are probably stripping before upload, I do that before posting to some sites.

I haven’t seen serial numbers either, but there are a lot of different EXIF permutations.


Oh, that makes sense.

I envision it being a checkbox at the time of upload and also an opt-in user setting. The user setting shall apply retroactively to all previous observations. Of course, users need to be informed that this is an irreversible action.