Geo-Location (Geo-tagging) and Personal Security


Geo-Location (Geo-tagging) feature functionality popping up in social networking platforms such as Twitter promise to offer a cleverly entertaining experience to the social networking scene.  But at what cost to  a user’s individual privacy and security?

There are obvious advantages to social networking platforms to encourage geo-location/geo-tagging use among its user base.  The most significant of which is of course creating the ability to provide location targeted advertising capabilities to its advertisers.  This is huge!  Just imagine if PizzaHut could target a lunch special advertisement to all Twitter clients they know to be currently within a few miles of one of their restaurants at around lunch time.  “Hungry?  Come in for an ‘All you can Eat’ special”.

And how about all the geo-location centric features and even dedicated apps that are now popping up?  They tout how much fun it will be to see all your local Twitterers’ actual location around you.  That does sound somewhat entertaining, but only to the one viewing everyone else’s location – not necessarily any fun for the person providing their personal location data to everyone else.  In fact, it could very well be quite the opposite.

In a recent article by The Huffington Post: http://tinyurl.com/yaashyz, the author Bianca Bosker suggests that “Twitter and Facebook users could see their home insurance premiums rise by as much as 10 percent…” as a result of geo-location technology’s use among these and other social networking platforms.  Knowing where you are is also knowing where you are not.  When you broadcast your whereabouts to potentially millions of other subscribers, you are bound to land on someone that might have less than honorable interests in that information.  Ever heard of someone (perhaps yourself) leaving the lights on, turning on the TV or radio, or using timers to give the impression someone is home while they’re away?  Now, ask yourself what’s the point if you broadcast to the social networking universe where it is you “actually” are?

Of equal concern is your personal security.  It may not be your home an unscrupulous recipient of your ge0-location data may be interested in – it may be YOU!  Robbers, stalkers, perverts, anyone with a $3 app will know exactly where you are.  What about an angry boyfriend that thought you were home washing your hair, or your Mom wondering why you’re not actually over your friends house for a sleep-over like you said.  Does this really sound like “fun” to you?

To the people receiving all this personal geo-location, yes it’s great!  How interesting to see where all these people are every minute of the day, and where they might be in relation to where I am.  Basically, it’s great for others to provide their geo-location information for your benefit, but you certainly don’t want to give up YOUR privacy and YOUR security just to become the source of THEIR entertainment.

What are your thoughts…?

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