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    USA Today: Location services pose huge security risks

    USA Today’s CyberSpeak columnist Kim Komando focuses on the issue of privacy and location-tracking services in an article. She explains the problems and she also gives tips on how to protect your privacy.

    Geotagging adds GPS coordinates to your online posts or photos. You may be exposing this information without even knowing it. Geotagging is particularly popular with photos; many smartphones automatically geotag photos. […]

    Unless you have a stalker, these [location-based social-networking] services aren’t particularly dangerous on their own. You need to think about the layers of information you leave online. As you use more services, it’s easier for criminals to track you.

    Let’s say you post a photo of your new house to a photo site. The photo is geotagged. You’ve linked your photo account to Facebook. And you use Foursquare or Twitter on the go; updates are sent to your Facebook account.

    One night you go to the movies. You send a tweet as you wait in line. When you get home, you discover you’ve been robbed. The burglar used your photo to find your address. He learned more about you on Facebook. Your tweet tipped him off to your location.

    Thanks to a movie site, he knew exactly how long the movie ran. He scoped out your house and neighborhood on Google Street View. He devised a plan to get in and out fast and undetected. […]

    If you use these services, protect yourself. Use a little common sense. First, don’t geotag photos of your house or your children. In fact, it’s best to disable geotagging until you specifically need it. […]

    For many people, Facebook ties everything together. Reconsider linking other accounts to Facebook. Pay close attention to your privacy settings. Only trusted friends should know when you are or aren’t at home. Finally, if you have contacts you don’t fully trust, it’s time to do a purge.

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