It's the Rich Kids of Instagram, Norwegian Royals edition.
The 15-year-old son of Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been sharing personal photos -- 133 in all -- of family holidays and other events on Instagram, potentially putting the royal family at risk, according to security blog Naked Security.
The teenager, Marius Borg Høiby, is the princess' son from a prior relationship. The photos include GPS information that could reveal the location of the family.
According to the popular Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, photos taken on Marius' phone through the popular mobile app have been available online. The photos have since been taken down.
“This has major significance for the security around the royals,” said Petter Gottschalk, a professor at the business school Handelshøyskolen BI, in an interview with both VG and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday. “This is a security scandal, and I’m surprised that this could be so open. The royal staff and the royal police escorts should have been aware of this.”
The royal couple took the significant step of writing a letter to the paper, criticizing editors for a "speculative" story that overstated the danger.
"We react strongly that you are exposing our child in this manner. For us, it’s very important to shield our children against an undsciplined public spotlight because we believe it can be a heavy burden and damaging. All children have a right to be protected against that," the princess and husband Crown Prince Haakon wrote.
The potential security breach is just one more problem for Norwegian security forces, who have been harshly critiqued for their handling of the Oslo massacre. The country marked the tragedy's one year anniversary in July with the resignation of Øystein Mæland, the top police official. According to The Foreigner, an English-language Norwegian paper, 39 percent of Norwegians said they are losing faith in the police, and nine percent of respondents said they have no faith in the authorities.
The potential dangers of geotagging are being taken seriously in the U.S., however.
Alexa Dell, daughter of PC mogul Michael Dell, had her social media accounts shut down after posting one too many family photos from her personal Instagram account, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Alexa's father pays almost $3 million a year for private security protection, according to regulatory filings.
Jason Thorsett, the director of operations at bodyguard firm Custom Protective Services, told Bloomberg that Dell's security detail shut down the account because of kidnapping concerns. “It’s innocent on the kids’ behalf, but social networking has become the bane of our existence. They undo a lot of hard work on Facebook and Twitter," he said.
But it's not just billionaires: Even the U.S. military has warned of the potential dangers of the high-tech surveillance software.
In a post on the U.S. Army website, Brittany Brown, social media manager of the Online and Social Media Division at the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, posed the question, "Is a badge on Foursquare worth your life?" Brown's point was that a number of social media applications can help pinpoint a service member's location, which can also compromise their security.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Marius Borg Høiby was a prince. The teen is Crown Princess Mette-Marit's son from a prior relationship and doesn't carry a title.