When the “Please Rob Me” site launched last month, I wouldn’t have guessed that under a month later, there would be an actual burglary resulting from a status update. Unfortunately for Keri McMullen, $10,000 of items were stolen thanks to a status update that tipped off burglars that she would be away from her house. Minutes after Keri left for a concert, one of her “friends” that she hadn’t spoken to in a long-time robbed her house.
The developers behind the site PleaseRobMe.com were intending to spread awareness about the dangers of posing status updates with your location. While participating in a panel at SXSW, one attendee told us about how he had to worry after his friend posted a status update about being out of the country and named the friends he was with. While nothing happened to the individual, it’s becoming increasingly clear that posting your whereabouts present a significant risk.
Some users of new services like Foursquare and Gowalla choose to post their updates to Twitter, letting anybody know where they’re at, during any moment of the day. Clearly that’s not the best idea which is why I’ve personally chosen only to accept friend requests from people I know relatively well. Do you choose to publish your location updates? Do you think it’s safe to make your location information public on Facebook, Twitter, and other social services?