Be careful with your check-ins

Since all mobile internet devices are ready to go with their owners, location plays a big role in our security. It’s getting boring to let your friends know what is on your mind on Facebook or reporting what are you currently doing on Twitter. It’s cool and fancy to let others know where have you checked in recently and what places have you visited. But did you realize how risky and dangerous for your privacy can be data generated from location based apps and social services?

Risky game – risky fun

Not only GPS or cell towers triangulation technology based devices are tracking your current location, but also geolocation services you have might use as a fun apps to play with your friends. Bringing both, useful services and risky fun, services such as Foursquare, Brightkite or Gowalla become more and more popular due to two main factors. Users’ recommendations are always well-positioned – consumers and clients are more likely to visit the same places or use the same services as others, if they say it’s worth doing it. Another reason is a human need of blowing own trumpet. People announce: I’ve been here – I made it. I scored a major. Now you can try to beat me!

Your personal spy

Most of the geolocation applications report your current location to other users or track your local area to associate and suggest you the nearest places to visit. Sometimes also, people ‘check in’ and post on their Facebook walls, asking for an advice, where should they go around the place they are currently visiting. All seems to be very handy and helpful, but within undisputed advantages and benefits, some risks come along. Facebook, if you do not control your privacy settings, allow your friends to check in on behalf of you and tag you whenever they are. Your geolocation data generated and transmitted by smart phones (or other digital devices such as tablets, cameras) are more then wanted by third-party companies for their advertising and selling purposes. And the last but not least, sharing sensitive data like your whereabouts, is the simplest invitation for burglars and stalkers.

Have fun but stay safe

Geolocation services wouldn’t work without sharing. Keeping your location hidden kills the idea of geo-sharing apps. They are useful due to large base of users who share their views, recommendations and constantly broadcast their position. Balancing between fun, benefits and security bring following tips:

  1. always guard your privacy settings
  2. never post about your extended absence on social networks and keep sensitive data for your closest friends only
  3. you can also try 123people professional services to monitor and control your online security