Here’s one unexpected negative effect of ubiquitous smartphones — a sign asking people to turn off geotagging when they take pictures of endangered rhinos so that poachers can’t figure out where they are.
A sign of our times. Makes me sad! pic.twitter.com/PoEnwFSHgE
— Eleni de Wet (@Eleni_dW) May 4, 2014
The photo started making its way across the internet after it was posted by Eleni de Wet, who owns a branding and marketing company in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sure, that means there might be some kind of marketing spin on the photo, but it’s also indicative of a larger problem: poachers are using technology to help them find and kill endangered species. So that Instagram photo you snapped on a tourist safari? It might be helping poachers actually hunt those animals.
This is not a new issue — but the problem is getting worse. As Quartz points out, poaching is on the rise. More than 1000 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year alone, 42 per cent more than in 2012. And although geotagging and EXIF data is often left in a photo by mistake, technology isn’t exactly helping us save the rhinos. [@Eleni_dW]
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