The Dangers of Social Geo-Tagging

by Andy M

You may have already heard of the new wave that is sweeping all the smart-phones and social networks that involves Geo-tagging your location and checking in to a whole range of locations around the world. It works by the GPS in your phone and you are then able to use any of the services available to display exactly where you are.

This may all seem innocent enough, but with the nature of some of the social networks you are potentially displaying information to a whole range of people that you may not necessarily want knowing about your whereabouts. This is even more the case when you consider the amount of random strangers that can follow you on Twitter.

The biggest danger is in letting the masses know when your house is going to be empty, this can be by some hypothetical tweeter displaying exactly where and when they are and can even give the potential burglar the opportunity to get out is you are tweeting that you are on the train home from work.

This is obviously in the short term and people have the ability to find out where and when you are going to be at work, buy why not consider when you go on holiday. How many times might you tweet about buying new clothes, when you are going, if you are afraid of flying and all the other interesting facts you may share with your followers.

Here is a quick example of the tweets you can start to expect:

“Going To Thailand in August, I can’t wait, bought my first pair of flipflops” – May 12th

“Ooh I’m so nervous about flying, but my flight is in the evening so I won’t be able to see the mountains as we fly into them” – June 18th

“Just bought a new suitcase, leaving a week today, so excited” – July 30th

“About to leave for the Airport, I shall be tweeting to you all in two weeks” – August 8th

“Just checked in @HeathrowAirport” – August 8th

“Just got off the plane, Holiday was amazing but looking forward to my own bed” – August 24th

“OH MY GOD!! Just got home to find all my belongings gone and the back door smashed in!” – August 24th

Obviously this is all hypothetical and may not have actually happened, but you have to think that you are giving the person who could want to steal your belongings all the information they need in order to know exactly when your home is going to be empty and for how long.

I am all for the location tagging that goes on and I think it is a very interesting idea, but it does need some refinement and you do need to be a bit mindful of what you are saying and bare in mind the audience you are updating.

Andy works for an Estate Agents in Battersea and has his concerns for the homes he sells. Find out more and follow his twitter @andym23