This week, Justin Elliott wrote about new House Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) attending a weekend getaway with banking industry officials.
One of the ways he found out who was at the getaway was by using the Instagram photo sharing service, which turned up a snowy snapshot taken by Len Wolfson, a lobbyist for the Mortgage Bankers Association (which had contributed to Hensarling’s PAC). Wolfson has since set his account to private.
The Instagram site has no search function, so finding shots like this can take a lot of digging. However, Instagram has an API with a “Media Search” endpoint that returns data both by timeframe and distance from a certain latitude and longitude — a perfect way to see who’s at a certain place at a certain time.
“A technician there explained the problem, but didn’t provide a solution, he said. Dobson was told that cellphone GPS systems don’t provide exact locations – they give a general location of where to start your search. And for some reason his house is that location for his area.”