Keeping your data safe online is a very important safety topic and vital to protecting your personal safety. You should be aware if your data is being made public online and understand the consequences that could result from this exposure.
Recently there has been a big scare in regards to online privacy. A smartphone application called “Girls Around Me” pulled publicly available information from the social networking applications Foursquare and Facebook to create a virtual stalking app. This app allows men to access publicly available check-in information from female Foursquare users and combine this data with personal and publicly available information from Facebook, such as profile pictures and relationship statuses. The reason this application so blatantly breaches privacy is that the women whose check-ins and profiles are displayed did not consent to make this information available through the app. Consequently, in the wrong hands of someone looking to inflict harm, this application could be dangerous; this grievous breach of privacy could lead to sexual assaults and threaten the personal safety of females.
To prevent this threat, changes with the way people interact with technology need to occur. These changes must take place on both an institutional and personal level. On an institutional level, social networks need to prevent these types of applications from accessing personal location data for the wrong reasons. Additionally social media companies need to make the privacy settings on their applications more transparent and easier to understand. Likewise, on a personal level women (and men) need to better understand the information they make publicly available on social networks. In the case of Girls Around Me, Foursquare banned the application from using its API to access its users check-in information. However, women who use social networking websites and mobile technology cannot just rely on technology companies to protect their personal safety by preventing these malicious applications from being developed. With thousands of applications submitted to the various app stores on a daily basis, women who fear being stalked should strongly consider educating themselves about the private data they may be publicly sharing through social networks and social media. Specifically, women need to understand the privacy settings on the various applications they use and know exactly what type of information they feel comfortable sharing, in order to improve their personal safety security.
Despite the dangers of applications, such as Girls Around Me, which use location-based technology and social media for malicious purposes; the vast majority of apps use these types of breakthrough technologies in order to improve the human condition. Guardly is an example of a mobile application that uses social technologies to improve personal safety. Guardly offers location-based safety apps that allow users to instantly notify a custom group of contacts, with their exact location, should they find themselves in an emergency. Unlike some malicious applications, such as Girls Around Me, which deceitfully exploits the privacy of its users, Guardly’s users must authorize and download the application in order for it to get access to their information. Furthermore Guardly only accesses location-based information during an emergency, when the ability to know a user’s location could be life-saving. Stay safe everyone.
Guardly provides mobile safety solutions for reporting and managing enterprise and public safety emergencies.Our safety apps act as personal emergency phones that transmit real-time indoor/GPS location, and provides two-way communication with private security, 911 authorities and safety groups using our real-time platform for emergency incident monitoring, management, communication and response.
- Read our customer campus safety study showing how Guardly helped improve emergency response times by 44% at a school.
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