PleaseRobMe website reveals dangers of social networks

A website called PleaseRobMe claims to reveal the location of empty homes based on what people post online. The Dutch developers said the site was designed to prove a point about the dangers of sharing precise location information on the internet. The site scrutinises players of online game Foursquare, which is based on a person’s location in the real world. PleaseRobMe extracts information from players who have chosen to post their whereabouts automatically onto Twitter. Mr Van Amstel, Frank Groeneveld and Barry Borsboom realised that not only were people sharing detailed location information about themselves and their friends, they were also by default broadcasting when they were away from their own home. The website took just four hours to create. He said that the site would remain live but stressed it was not created to encourage crime. “The website is not a tool for burglary,” he said. “The point we’re getting at is that not long ago it was questionable to share your full name on the internet. We’ve gone past that point by 1,000 miles.” Mr Van Amstel added that in practice it would be “very difficult” to use the information on the website to carry out a burglary. Charity Crimestoppers advises people to think carefully about the information they choose to share on the internet

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8521598.stm

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