Thursday, April 7, 2011

Geolocation - How Safe Are We?

Geolocation is the hot new tech trend that's caused quite a stir this year, especially concerning privacy issues. After my last post about Creepy (the program that aggregates your social network information and gives its users your exact geolocation), I want to explore geolocation and safety concerns. 

Foursquare and other geolocation apps announce to the world that you just checked into your favorite restaurant or bar. As fun as they are (the grown-up techie version of Where's Waldo?), geolocation apps raise an unsettling question: what happens when you announce to the world that you're NOT home?  

One privacy advocacy group tackles this very issue. Please Rob Me  "raises awareness about over-sharing."  According to Please Rob Me, their goal is to raise awareness about how much information people share on geolocation apps such as Foursquare, Google Buzz, etc. 

Another word that's been passed back and forth concerning geolocation is "locational privacy." According to The Electronic Frontier Foundation, locational privacy is " the ability of an individual to move in public space with the expectation that under normal circumstances their location will not be systematically and secretly recorded for later use." 

Is our locational privacy in jeopardy? With the many third-party apps, software programs, etc. that pull our information from social networks and make it easily accessible for other people to know our whereabouts, how safe are we and how 'private' is our life? Will we resort to NOT sharing any information on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? That's not very likely, but it might make think us twice about the kind of information (especially our physical location) we share via social media. Just remember to be cautious and aware. 


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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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