§ 45 - About EXIF

iToolBox is notable for its complete lack of EXIF saving. It does read EXIF camera information in order that it may properly interpret RAW image files, and to retrieve camera-specific aperture, ISO, shutter speed and focal length. This information is not written back out in EXIF format.

There's a very specific reason for this, and it is that EXIF is severely flawed, putting both your images and your personal security at risk.

Wikipedia's EXIF article has a good discussion of the problems.

For those of a TL;DR; mindset, here's a quick list of EXIF's troubles:

  • EXIF provides for encryption and hiding of information; sharing may implicate you in a crime
  • EXIF encodes hidden, unique source device identity, leading to security compromise
  • EXIF silently encodes device location (GPS), leading to security compromise
  • EXIF thumbnails can get out of sync with the image data, leading to security compromise
  • Software can corrupt EXIF data simply because there's something new / different in the data
  • The 64k data limit in JPG breaks many EXIF implementations
  • EXIF Time information is ambiguous
  • EXIF DPI information from a photo is baseless

Rather than contribute to this mess, I've designed iToolBox to write out only image data you can see, edit, and otherwise manage safely. While you can certainly encrypt information contained in an output image with it, you can't hide that you have done so, consequently anyone using the application can see it, evaluate their risk(s), and act accordingly. The new image formats I've designed are able to contain tags you can't see and the program won't know about, but they are not read into the software, and any files you generate from such information will not contain that data.

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