Gross, right? Pictured above is a Burger King employee ruining what is probably the only healthy thing that you can find at a Burger King. What’s even worse is that employee decided that this wasn’t enough, and that he wanted to post this picture with the caption “This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King” to the Internet to stir up some trouble. Well trouble is exactly what he got. Shortly after posting this picture to 4chan.org, our star employee was surprised to find out that the collective effort of 4chan users was able to determine which Burger King he worked at in the United States. Before he could do some damage control and delete the thread, people were already sending Burger King emails and phone calls about the incident. This lead to the employee, the photographer, and the supervisor on duty being promptly fired. How did this happen, though? How were they able to find out where this guy lived just from a picture?
The answer is EXIF Data. EXIF Data, which stands for Exchangeable Image File data, is the data that almost all digital cameras store along with the picture taken. This information includes time and date, aperture settings, shutter speed, ISO speed, focal length of the lens, and even the model of the camera phone. It also just so happens to store your geological location when taking the picture. That’s right, that’s how they did it. It isn’t even that hard to view someone else’s EXIF Data on their picture, there are simple web browser plug-ins that let you do just this. Why is all this information being stored, though? I’m not a photographer, but I can see the usefulness. Having this kind of information handy on your pictures can be useful if you’re trying to tweak, or recreate a shot using the same settings on your camera. Also, these EXIF data browser plug-ins are available for photographers to see the data on other photographer’s shots if they happen to like it. It seems like this is a case of good used for bad.
So what should we all take from this? First off, don’t mess with other people’s food. Secondly, if you’re going to post a picture online then you have to be careful, especially if you don’t know the people you are posting to. Finally, if you absolutely feel the need to post a picture online make sure that you are using something like Windows QuickFix, which will completely erase the EXIF Data, along with your GPS location.
As a little bit of added controversy, I think it’s worth mentioning the employee’s side of the story. He claims that he was just playing a joke, and that the lettuce was past the throw out date. After standing in it and taking the picture, he claims he just got rid of it. In my opinion, that is still nothing to joke about and deserved to be fired, but what do you think?