Thanks to the Geolocation application from Twitter launched in March, mobile users can let their followers know where they’re tweeting from. This will allow users to share their location with their friends as they tweet, or update their status. Geolocation services work with a GPS- enabled smartphone to let users share their location while accessing social networks such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. Seems like so much fun, and it is, but majority of users are raising concern over the issue of privacy.
On Twitter’s footpath.
A similar application is said to be worked on by Facebook and is set for release next month at its f8 conference, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, search giant Google is in the game with Latitude and to a certain extent, Buzz. Most of these applications use Twitter’s Geolocation API to send the data back to Twitter; therefore it makes perfect sense that this would be a convenient time to turn the functionality on for the website.
In a recent survey carried out by cyber-security firm Webroot, the research revealed that slightly over half of the application users are either very, or extremely concerned about maintaining their personal privacy. 55 percent of social mobile users who have recently started using the applications were worried that in may compromise their privacy.
Basing on accuracy, 45 percent expressed worry that the information might greatly be used against them by potential burglars to target their residence while they were away. Among women, 49 percent said that they were “highly concerned” about giving their whereabouts to potential stalkers, as compared to 27 percent of men.
Also, one of every eleven Brits who use the application has met a stranger through similar services.
The risks involved.
“As technology continues to advance and such applications gain popularity, the public should also become increasingly aware of what cyber-criminals can do with the huge amount of personal data that we share in cyberspace.” Said Jeff Horne, director of Threat research at Webroot.
He went on to say, “We often get exited about new features available on social networks and we forget about the power of the internet and the amount of information we give away by the simple and common act of updating our status and checking in at our current locations. ”
Users are voluntarily exposing their locations but 71 percent of them said that they only share this information with friends. This implies that they know and understand the risks involved in using these and have already made a conscious choice to keep it locked down.
It’s also worthy mentioning that according to another study, half of all social network users in the United States are “concerned” if not “very concerned” about their privacy.
An advice from Webroot to mobile phone owners, to turn off their “GPS photo tagging” and “locate” me features on their handsets and never to post anything they wouldn’t want the world to see, to a social site.
The debate on whether or not we care about our privacy might go on and on. But basing on the surveys carried out, it’s easy to say that it all depends on the nature of the person as a pessimist or an optimist. Careful or care-free. One thing similar with both surveys, only half of the people cared about their privacy. Disappointing or encouraging? Like I said, it all depends with the viewer’s perspective.