Are you leaving digital footprints?
When you go away on holiday, you don’t leave a note for anyone to see telling them that you are away and your house is vacant because you hope that your home won’t be burgled.
The situation for your online and mobile life should be treated similarly to your everyday life.
Think of putting a password on your computer or phone like the physical act of locking your front door. Think of mobile security products like an alarm for your home, its the next level of protection and then of course you have insurance to help protect against the worst situations of theft, loss or repairable damage.
Unless you are very important, it is quite likely that no-one is watching your every move, but in the new era of crime thieves can target homes and your mobile because they know you are not there or you are giving them access to the stuff they want by sharing information through the likes of social networks and your GPS location.
For the savvy criminal you and your home could be a target because you are willingly sharing this.
There are certainly 2 sides to the argument and neither is right or wrong, but broadcasting your GPS location can be an invitation to some to abuse the reason for which you have for sharing your location.
It is very easy now with services like G+ to find people local to you and follow what they are doing without them even noticing.
It is fair to say that this sort of tracking/crime is in its infancy, but as more of us use smartphones and more of us are constantly online and put more of our lives online, it is inevitable, that this sort of cyber crime will increase.
GPS based apps have a definite place in our lives, from planning a route to getting local information. However do you really need to share your location when you upload a picture or send a tweet. Do you need to check-in to a restaurant or work?? It is all too easy to leave digital footprints of where we have been.
The US Army is educating soldiers about the consequences of using location based services. For the Army the results might be a bit more severe than the average smartphone user but the reasoning behind it is very similar (source).
Take a scenario, you just purchased a new home audio visual system, you are pleased with it and want to show people, so you share it on Facebook, Twitter and G+ but you leave your location attached to the image. People now know your £3000 AV systems exact location. You then upload a picture a few days later as you sun yourself on the beach on holiday…chances are no-one else is at home…enter the clever criminal who scouts the location and finds a £3000 AV system ready for a new life…you get the idea.
I am not saying don’t share your location, I simply advise you be careful as the world we live in isn’t as nice a place as we would like to think and you could be putting yourself in harms way. Just be considerate of what and when you share information.