Privacy give away?

Recently I noticed more and more people using Gowalla or Foursquare to “check-in” at locations they currently are at. Especially Foursquare is being used a lot here in the Netherlands. A couple of nights ago while playing with the iPhone I decided to download both and give them a try out. First Gowalla and then Foursquare.

Well the first check-in with Gowalla while having lunch at a cafe crashed the app. And truthfully I rather enjoy lunch that restarting the app and trying to check in again. So basically it was an immediately deal breaker for that app. On Monday I decided to try Foursquare, while waiting for the train I checked in at the train station. Then I checked in at the hospital where I was for my appointment. Back at the train station I wanted to check in at Starbucks and then I got tired of it.

I’m holding bags while unzipping my winter jacket to fish out my iPhone form the inner pocket. Opening app, waiting for spots to load and then check-in, etc. etc. And T-Mobile’s 3G is not what we call the fastest network around here. So the whole process takes 2 to 4 minutes and I still have to actually buy my coffee and make it on time to the platform to catch the train.

The next day while at another train station waiting for the tram I had some time so I decided to check-in with Foursquare and while waiting for T-mobile’s 3G to get going I looked around at a couple of weird men standing around and got a bit paranoid. While I haven’t filled out my profile nor added a profile picture I thought that the chance of some weirdo also being on Foursquare is quite possible.

Imagine I use Foursquare everywhere I go and publish my check-ins on Twitter, that does not sound like a good idea. For all pro technology that I am I have found my limit in applications like Gowalla and Foursquare, first because of the time consuming they are and secondly and most importantly, safety.

I am a 28 years old woman and I definitely don’t want strangers to be able to track where I am at all times of day. Especially considering we as humans have routine and habits. So some crazy would be able to soon enough know my schedule and places I frequent a lot. So it would be like facilitating a potential stalker.

While off course having such an online presence like I have now is barely “undercover”, posting my whereabouts online with GPS is plain giving it all away. Nobody needs to know at which supermarket I go regularly or at which stores I shop my clothes and stuff like that. I guess if I hit the Apple store I might post that because who doesn’t like saying “Hey I’m at the Apple store!”.

But for now I’ll keep the sharing to Facebook, Twitter and my peronal weblog.

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Ms Hyde
@darice

Darice is a web developer who likes reading, watching TV shows, taking the occasional photos and play a tennis game now and then. Darice has been blogging on her own weblog since 2003 and joined Forever Geek in January 2010. When not coding, writing or reading she can be found in the kitchen cooking.

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