Burglars Use Social Networks To Find Empty Homes
I read this article the other day about two teenagers involved in burglaries, some of which resulted from information they gathered on social networking sites. Ironically, over-sharing your information online is what these digital burglars and the creators of the location based services are banking on. Although these services are great for businesses, there are some serious privacy concerns for personal use. I immediately decided geolocation services was to be the topic for my next article and started my research.
Later that evening I went out with a friend. Before leaving the house I went through my usual routine of turning on a few lights and another light bulb literally went on in my head. How many people leave the lights on when they go out at night? How many stop their mail and newspaper delivery, or put their lights on timers when they go away on vacation, all to make it look like someone IS home? Then why do they sabotage that effort and announce to the world that they are NOT home online? Do they think only their “friends” see what they’re doing on Facebook?
Geolocation apps work like this: They report your location to other users and they associate real world locations (like restaurants, events) to your location. If you are on a social network and participate in this service, regardless of the privacy level you set, you’re increasing your level of risk. I found a related article written by Linda Criddle, the president of the Safe Internet Alliance, called “Think You’ve Got Nothing to Hide”? I especially like the last sentence where she sums it all up with a great piece of advice, “Perhaps the guiding privacy principle should be – always share less about your private life than Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin”.
As more social networking and geolocation services appear we need to revisit how we protect our digital lives like we do our real ones. Here are a few good places to start:
- Was Facebook and ‘Places’ burglars’ roadmap? Technolog on msnbc.com
- Facebook introduces ‘Places’ location-sharing program. msnbc.com
- Burglary ring targets Facebook users in New Hampshire. necn.com
- Where are you? Tips for using Facebook’s Places. msnbc.com
- Please Rob Me. saferdates.com
- Think You’ve Got Nothing to Hide? safeinternet.org
- Location Based Services: Safety Tips Video with Christopher Burgess. casttv.com
Until next time, here’s to keeping you Safer in the City!
About Jessica Walker~”Safer in the City” columnist I was very excited when asked to write a column for saferdates.com. I’ve been influenced by safety and self-defense pretty much my whole life. While other girls were making macaroni necklaces in Girl Scouts, I was sparring with boys, breaking boards and doing knuckle push-ups on cement in Tae Kwon Do class. Read my column titled Safer in the City.