NEW warnings have emerged this week about the need for Net users to be careful about what information they allow to be published for all the world to see.
The first report ringing the alarm bells was published by Staffordshire Police, who flagged up a spate of high value bike thefts.
About £175,000 worth of performance cycles have disappeared on their manor in just four months. It seems that all of the bikers concerned have been using GPS tracking solutions.
Users of Apps such as Google Latitude and its add-ons like Backitude and Latify allow their location to be tracked and published on the Net.
These products proclaim the benefits ‘allowing your friends to see exactly where you are’ and are heavily used within the cycling enthusiast community to share the rides they have completed.
The trouble is, GPS accuracy is good enough these days to show exactly which garden shed a bike is kept in when it is ridden home!
You don’t have to be a cyclist to get caught out using location Apps either. A couch potato letting Latitude announce their location on a beach in Mykonos or a bar in Munich is pretty much broadcasting that there will be no-one back home caring for the family silver!
The week’s other warning was about how much can be inadvertently revealed by Facebook users.
In an academic analysis of 58,000 volunteers’ Facebook pages, boffins were able to predict with high levels of accuracy which of them were substance users and what political leanings they had.
It was also reported that money lender Wonga analyses Facebook pages as part of its credit rating process!