Time reports on Please Rob Me, a Web site that highlights the privacy and security problems that can arise from people oversharing about their lives on blogs or social-networking sites like Google Buzz or Twitter.
Think before you tweet. You might not be aware of how much information you’re revealing.
That’s the message from the founders of Please Rob Me, a website launched on Tuesday that illustrates just how easy it is to rob people blind on the basis of the information they’re posting on the Web. The site uses streams of data from Foursquare, an increasingly popular location-based social network that is based on a game-like premise. Players use smart phones or laptops to “check in” to a location, recording their position on a map for friends using the service to see. The more often you check in, the better your chances of being declared the mayor of a particular location, be it a restaurant, bar, office or even your own home.
The problem comes when users also post these locations to Twitter, says Boy van Amstel, one of the founders of Please Rob Me. Then the information becomes publicly available, making it theoretically possible for a robber (or anyone else) to keep tabs on when you say you’re in your home or not. […]
Van Amstel is no expert hacker, and Please Rob Me isn’t a complicated website; it’s simply a dressed-up page of Twitter search results that monitors the latest posts of users sharing their locations via Foursquare. […]
A little foresight goes a long way. Sites like Foursquare and its competitors don’t post your location unless you give it to them, nor is it posted to Twitter without your consent. It’s always up to the user to decide what to post.