Even innocuous photos users share on social networks can have unexpected consequences for their privacy. Consider the case of the cube steak.
A man named Troy was selling stolen identities for use in tax fraud, according to a report in the Sun Sentinel. The IRS sent an informant to meet with him. Troy and his girlfriend met with the informant at Morton’s Steakhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and gave him a flash drive with some of the stolen identities on it.
Sloppy data hygiene would be Troy’s downfall. First, investigators salvaged hidden data on the drive that connected it to a man named Troy Maye. Then they searched the Internet, including Instagram, for users named Troy Maye.
User “troymaye” on Instagram had posted photos of a delicious steak dinner on the date of the suspect’s meeting with the IRS informant at Morton’s steakhouse. The photo was tagged “Morton’s.”
Investigators looked for a photo of “troymaye” and found a photo that the informant confirmed was Troy. Troy and his girlfriend were subsequently arrested.