Published: Jan. 12, 2012

According to Associate Professor Kai Larsen, when this information is not removed by the dating website, it is very easy to access that information using commonly available tools.

"I think you go to these online sites with a sense of anonymity where you don't want people to know where you live right off the bat, and if it is this simple, you know within 10 seconds can pull this vital information about you, it can really create a safety risk," Colleen Gross, a student involved with the study, said.

Dating websites have the ability to scrub the metadata from photos and the study found that many do.

"While we were pleased to see such a high level of responsible behavior by online dating companies, an online predator would require no more than one website to act irresponsibly," Larsen said. "The fact that we found more than 20 websites that do not carefully maintain user privacy is cause for concern, in that individual users are left to maintain their own privacy by carefully confirming that any uploaded picture does not contain GPS coordinates."

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