Posting location online broadcasts absence, makes stalking easy


I’m alarmed at how accessible everyone is becoming. It’s not just Google maps and webcams I’m worried about, as many of these things are out of our control and just all around us. No, I’m talking about individual people choosing to broadcast their lives to the world using technology.

Cyberstalking is easy when you live in a world of cyberexhibitionists. People broadcast everything they do on Twitter, post their phone numbers and address on Facebook or use their smartphone to “check in” whenever they enter a building on campus. Somebody with questionable moral values could easily use this information to track your movements, learn your daily patterns and habits and use it to their benefit. Break into your dorm room or apartment, for example, when they know you won’t be around. Worst case scenario, this information could be used to stalk and rape or kill somebody.

Is this just the paranoia talking? Perhaps, but I would like to believe I’m thinking in realistic terms here. We have locks on our doors for a reason. The world is an imperfect place filled with people who commit crimes if given the chance to. If you are in the habit of leaving your door unlocked all the time, you will eventually have your stuff stolen.

Police reports are frequently filled with examples of people losing wallets, cell phones, laptops and other valuables because they left them in an unlocked car, or because somebody went to the store and didn’t lock their apartment. Thieves are opportunists by nature. That’s a fact. Ask any cop or insurance company.

So let’s say you tweet five times a day and post information about that vacation to Mexico you’ll be taking during Spring Break. Let’s say one of those 200 plus people you’ve friended on Facebook logs on and sees you’re using Places to show you’re attending a party a good two hours’ drive away. How long do you think it would take before somebody decides to take advantage of such information? Stupid people, particularly those with some money, make mighty tempting targets.

There is nothing illegal about sharing your entire life with the world. The choice is up to you, but taking such risks is the same as not wearing a helmet on a motorcycle, not wearing a seatbelt in a car, not using protection when you have sex or not brushing your teeth. Chances are, nothing will come of it, but you are still gambling. If you keep rolling the dice long enough, you’ll get snake eyes.

Mother Nature adapts, finds way to perpetuate life