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A Russian soldier’s bored posts to Instagram from the Russian-Ukrainian frontier apparently show that he was taking "selfies" inside Ukraine on at least two occasions. Posts from June and July, with geotags stored in Instagram’s Photo Map feature, were made just prior to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, apparently by a Russian-built antiaircraft missile.

This isn’t the first social media faux pas by Russian soldiers on the Ukraine border. On previous occasions, Russian soldiers have posted pictures and posts to VKontakte, the Russian social media site, saying they were on their way to or actually in Ukraine. But the posts of Sanya Sotkin, a Russian Army Signal Corps sergeant (based on the insignia on his uniform in many of his self-portraits), included geolocation data that show him within a military vehicle on the Ukrainian side of the border.

For someone who works with communications systems, it’s surprising that Sotkin apparently forgot he had turned Photo Map on. By default, Instagram doesn’t give up location data; as we demonstrated in our network analysis of the application a few weeks ago, Instagram scrubs EXIF data from photos posted from the iPhone and Android Instagram apps. However, if you switch on “Add Photo to Map” while posting an image, it will automatically add all future location data to Instagram’s Photo Map by default.

Opposite of OPSEC: Russian soldier posts selfies—from inside Ukraine | Ars Technica

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