Posts Tagged ‘stalker’

How I Became A Cyber Stalker…On Foursquare…

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Louise has straight, auburn hair and, judging by the only photograph I have of her, she’s in her 30s.

She works in recruitment.

I also know which train station she uses regularly, what supermarket she shopped at last night and where she met her friends for a meal in her home town last week.

At this moment, she is somewhere inside the pub in front of me meeting with colleagues after work.

Louise is a complete stranger.

Until 10 minutes ago when I discovered she was located within a mile of me, I didn’t even know of her existence.

But equipped only with a smartphone and an increasingly popular social networking application called Foursquare, I have located her to within just a few square metres, accessed her Twitter account and conducted multiple cross-referenced Google searches using the personal details I have already managed to accrue about her from her online presence.

In the short time it has taken me to walk to this pub in central London, I probably know more about her than if I’d spent an hour talking to her face-to-face.

She doesn’t know it yet, but Louise is about to meet her new digital stalker.

– taken from last weeks “Guardian” written by Leo Hickman.

If you think facebook is riddled with the dangers of bullying and identity theft, take a look at Foursquare.

The fast-growing social network site, combines gameplay with information about where you are located at any one time.

As facebook celebrated its 500millionth user this week, Forsquare boasted 100million “check-ins”.

Foursquare is a web app in which members build a list of friends in the same way as facebook – but the difference is they can share their location as well.

In Foursquare, you get points and rewards for being the most “social.” You can become the “mayor” of an area by being the person who has checked in the most.

If you combine this information with the service Glympse, you can even see on a map, in real time, what time your friend will arrive based on their current location.

Real-time stalking without even being able to physically see the person.

You don’t even need to tail someone anymore in a car…

These kids have it so easy these days!

You can also post your locations on Twitter and Facebook. In some ways this type of information can be very useful.

Parents can see where their kids are, and mates can all meet up for some real-life face time with each other at a venue.

But it doesn’t take a genius to work out that, in the hands of bullies and stalkers; this information can be potentially dangerous to users.

A user could be tricked into being a friend and have their location exposed when they “check in” at a venue, club or even coffee shop.

Last month coding expert, Jesper Andersen, exploited a security glitch in San Francisco.

He was able to access over 875,000 check-ins over a 3 week period.

He had access to the locations and personal information of all those users. He verified the information with some friends who used Foursquare and immediately freaked them all out. Wonderful!

We all know that people put way to much information online. Foursquare’s default settings aren’t helping that either;

The default privacy options are that you have to opt out of things instead of approving them.

There is always a way to hack data even if you are careful about what you share.

But what about Louise?

Isn’t all of this her fault because she put all of this information online?

Well, she was just surprised as we were. She didn’t even want to use Foursquare but in her field she needs to use the latest technology and using Foursquare was encouraged by her company.

Here is what she had to say about the precautions she took.

“I thought I was being very careful with what I was posting. I never thought I was revealing personal information. I only use my maiden name when using social networking apps. And I never check in when at my kids’ school or at home. But, as you’ve shown, I can’t see who’s following me on Twitter. If I was going out for an evening with my girlfriends again, I don’t think I would now share it with the world via Foursquare.” (Louise’s setting on Foursquare automatically tweets her location whenever she checks into a location, which was how I could tell via her Twitter feed, without being her Foursquare “friend”, where she had been in recent days in such detail.).

So, if your considering joining Foursquare even after you read this post.

Think twice before you “check-in”  anywhere.

Only make friends with people you know.

Don’t you use identifiable pictures of yourself and never check in at personal places, instead use public areas.

Categories: Internet, Reviews Tags: , ,