Are we all asking to get robbed? That’s what the guys behind PleaseRobMe.com are telling us, with their new website dedicated to a Twitter reel showing anyone who recently left their homes and then notified the public via location-sharing networks, such as Foursquare, Buzzd, Gowalla, all of which have been profiled in this blog. Really it’s about time someone highlighted the dangers of sites like Foursquare and Google Buzz; when you break it down, it really does seem ridiculous to tell the entire world when you leave your home and to publicly list your address. The site itself is overall quite primitive—all their “inside scoop” comes from a simple Twitter search that anyone could perform on their own computer in about 0.4 seconds.
Okay, so maybe these guys are exaggerating a bit, making it sound like we might as well put out a welcome mat and greet burglars with a tray of freshly baked cookies. But they do make a very good point about how oblivious most users are to the privacy risks that come with being so connected. And now that they’ve done that, and in the process garnered a whole lot of buzz, they want to dedicate the website to a foundation for online privacy awareness.
What does it all mean?
One reading of this development is as follows: privacy concerns are taken far too lightly by members and participants of these social networks. People share too much information too frequently and are compromising their safety. Conversely, one could argue that the size of these networks has grown faster than imagined, creating a wealth of information that is now being sifted through and sorted out, allowing for a disciplined thief to digitally case someone’s place. If members start to post less information they will be protecting themselves, but they’ll also be providing marketers less information to assemble a profile from. In the meantime let’s not forget the major precautions one can take to protect their home and belongings…like locking the door.