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The potential pitfalls of social media: Do these technologies really pose a threat to users? Do you think services such as Four Square and Facebook need to do more to educate their users?

Criminal Use of Technology

By Nicole Battles

I was at the Criminal Justice Institute this week, and a hot topic of conversation was a session on the Future Criminal Use of Technology. One example the speaker gave was Four Square. This is a relatively new application which allows people to “check in” at the places they visit throughout the day to earn badges. Your activity is sent to friends and can be merged with your Facebook account. While it can be fun to know where your friends are, it also provides another avenue for a variety criminal activity from stalking to robbery. Another example was posting your vacation on you Facebook page. You may think you are just letting your friends know where you are, but you are also letting them know when your house will be empty and you will be miles away.

As more and more of my friends are using Four Square with their Facebook accounts, even I can start to see patterns with a simple flip through their posts. Not only can I see where they go but also when they go. Melissa goes to yoga every Tuesday at 7pm and out for drinks every Thursday. Sarah goes to the gym on Saturday mornings. Tony gets his car fixed at ABC.

So, I ask you: Do these technologies really pose a threat to users? Do you think services such as Four Square and Facebook need to do more to educate their users?

One comment

  1. I’m sure users are warned on page 1,000 of whatever user agreement the company has …

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