Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Abigail Elkins- Geolocation Apps and Privacy

Geolocation or location-based apps like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook places are popping up in smartphone technology and websites across the technology world. These apps have added the new dimension of location to social networking and allow users to connect with friends when they go places, not just when they sit at home and use their computer. If you download the app can "check-in" when you visit a restaurant, bookstore or other participating location and earn points that could get you discounts or special deals. My main argument is that geolocation apps' incorporation of location allows social networking to blend more seamlessly into our everyday lives, however, there are also many social risks associated with posting your location in real time for all to see. This information could get into the hands of criminals, sexual offenders, or stalkers who could have more nefarious intentions than your "friends." In the case with many of these applications, when you allow them to "use your current location," you are also giving them permission to sell information about the places you visit to third party advertisers. Several bills are being processed in Congress currently that would create stricter privacy policies surrounding location data. I will discuss all of these subjects in more detail on Thursday! Thanks and Gig 'Em!

P.S. If you have some time, check out pleaserobme.com to see if you are posting location information that could be putting you at risk for crime.

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