Look behind your back as well!


In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, a new form of video journalism has emerged. Journalists and accompanying guests are stepping in front of the camera at their homes. With the advent of Spring, videos are being made from balconies, backyards and gardens. This avoids direct contact and at the same time makes the overall picture more interesting.

However, these transmissions can make viewers aware of the of the background and the information that is being conveyed to the camera. It is often possible to identify the location where the interview was conducted, the person’s home address, through the details seen in the frame.

Here are some examples.

ERR Brussels correspondent, Epp Ehand has recently been reporting to Aktuaalne Kaamera (Actual Camera) from a balcony, which is probably at her home. According to the details in the background, it took Propastop volunteers about an hour to find out the address of the interview using a Google Maps application.

The Sunday morning show Prillitoos (Eyeglass case) began at the front gates of Reet Linnas’ home in Mervälja. Based on what you see in the picture, you can easily find the talk show host’s home address.

The church, which can be seen in the background of the France24 channel’s Berlin correspondent Nick Spicer, allows to locate the house from the balcony of which the interview was given using a map application and geolocation.

Ruslan Trochynskyi’s ERR broadcast Hommik Anuga (Morning with Anu) rooftop concert allows you to determine the address of the musician’s home. The landmarks and information help us determine that the five-story building is located in Kadrioru. Other image material published on the Internet confirms the information.

What danger is hiding in this information?

The ability to find out a person’s public address can provide information to malicious individuals, such as active conspiracy theorists, extremists or terrorists. Apartment thieves can get important information.

Ordinary people who respond to numerous calls to share videos at home with the media may also be at risk. Like in this embarrassing incident.

How to avoid security threats?
Both the presenter and the person in the video could avoid sharing information about the home location. The video should be done in as much of a neutral setting as possible: a solid house wall or a view of nature with no recognizable landmarks, signs or references. Inside the home, you should also choose a background that is as unobtrusive as possible for your video, such as a blank wall.

When streaming via a video call application, you can also blur or replace the background.

Above all, however, it is helpful to be aware of the potential danger and to take it into account.

If you have noticed videos with similar security risks in the media, share them on Propastop’s Facebook.

Test your skills in data retrieval from public sources! Try to find Martin Garrix’s home address based on this rooftop concert broadcast. If you wish, publish your solution on Facebook!

Pictures: From screenshots.