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Dubai

A photograph posted online can give away a lot of information, including your location, time stamp and even a family’s behavioural pattern, as stated by Faisal Mohammad, an Emirati child protection activist based in Abu Dhabi.

In his opinion, it isn’t safe to share photographs of your children online. It gives hackers an opportunity to not just collect information, but use it for “dangerous purposes”, too.

He said: “It enables any dangerous person to profile them. The information could be used for potential abuse or stalking. They can decipher how frequently the family is at home, what time they are going to work and their various activities.”

But, is all this mentioned in the security policies?

Mohammad said: “Unfortunately, companies write these policies in a way that makes people not want to read them. There will be too many words or the font will be too small. These terms are for the welfare of the company, not the users.”

Mohammad states that if a user wants to report an incident, it takes a long time for him or her to receive a response. With billions of uers, they cannot stop business and work on a single issue. Additionally, many users may not even be fully aware of how to report something.

He said: “Children will use social networks one day or another. Parents need to know who is the friend on the other end of the line. Parental control and communication within family is necessary, along with positive and preventive monitoring. The child could be talking to someone pretending to be six years old, but is a grown man in reality.”

Nicolai Solling, a cyber security expert based in Dubai, agrees and emphasises the need to be careful about tagging one’s photographs.

He said: “Initially, Facebook would automatically geotag your photos, giving away your location. It makes it easier for people to target your children or even kidnap them. Even now, if you post pictures taken in a certain area, you give away your whereabouts. A lot of people use the check-in option, too. This is a big security concern.”

He also warns about social media accounts being hacked. Most of the times, it comes down to the fact that people don’t change their passwords often.

Solling said: “A number of things can then happen. The attacker can impersonate you and utilise your network. It is an invasion of your privacy.”