As you all know, I am very concerned with privacy and protecting details of who I am on the internet. However, the social networking movement goes directly against my need for said privacy. Buzz got its act together and made the appropriate changes, Facebook is always updating its privacy defaults, for better or worse, but FourSquare is just making life dangerous.
The issue doesn’t lie in FourSquare’s code, but rather in how people are using the application. Users check-in to different locations to win badges, so the object is to travel around certain areas. However, by checking-in, users are relaying fairly sensitive information to the world, or at least 500 of your closest friends.
Yeah, yeah, your friends would never steal from you, but your friend of your friend checking-in from a party at your house might.
A new website, PleaseRobMe.com, is raising awareness of this issue by retweeting/posting check-ins of people around the world. Each new person is called an “opprotunity.” Clearly, the creators aren’t trying to incite more robberies, but they are trying to make us think twice before sharing information with the world.
At the end of the day, I don’t really care where you are :).
The creators put it best:
The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home. It gets even worse if you have “friends” who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That’s right, slap them across the face.
How do you use FourSquare? Do you worry about your safety?