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Track Me, Please

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Foursquare and similar location-based services are gathering steam. Unfortunately in our part of the world, the only benefit this seems to have generated so far is an endless stream of “I am now at [this location]” messages automatically posted on twitter or facebook by foursquare. One can quickly come up with a business where you can create a profile of a person’s daily routine just by tracking their tweets. A more unsavory use is to identify the optimal time to rob someone’s home when you are sure they are away.

I can see the utility of divulging your location to an application that for example, informs you of (opt-in) friends who are nearby, or let’s you know about (selected) offers from merchants in the area, or alerts you to traffic conditions. But simply broadcasting your location on twitter or facebook just for the sake of it must surely be a voluntary act of shedding your privacy without getting any benefit in return.

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