Social Media and Privacy

So I used to use Foursquare a lot. It helped me discover a couple of nifty places I would not have otherwise known of. But I stopped using it as anything other than a reference tool (mostly) after I thought about it a bit.

What happens if I check in at my daughter's preschool every day? And some freak decides that they're gonna take a look and see what they can see!

If I don't set my privacy settings correctly:

  • Freak knows where my kid is, and how often.
  • Freak can figure out where I am, regularly.
  • Freak also knows when I am out of my house.
  • I am not ok with this. I am flabbergasted at the idea of putting my child's location in *anything* regularly.

    The New York Times recently published an article: How Companies Learn Your Secrets. I found that reasonably concerning enough, and I am suddenly more aware of my shopping habits. Luckily, Target is unlikely to sway me with uh, targeted coupons. I do my shopping based on what I need and where I know I can get it for the right price. If I happen to spot it elsewhere where it's more convenient and cheaper, or I REALLY NEED something right now, I'll change, but...

    The point being, Target is just one organization doing this. Yeah, I use club cards. I give them very little information. OK, you have a phone number... you'll learn that I buy cat food and litter once a month from petsmart or something. I suspect that Foursquare is (at least currently) being reasonably ethical with their data.. but other sites like Facebook and Google+ and Yelp also have their own "check in" systems. We're already aware that Facebook and Yelp are not the most scrupulous of sites and Facebook has no qualms with using your data however they want unless you specifically tell them not to. Google+ is changing its privacy settings - and we *know* they know how to mine information.

    It only takes one hack.