Facebook, Twitter make life easy for burglars

Facebook and Twitter are gearing up to reveal your exact locations at all times, such as when you’re out of the house leaving your possessions unguarded.

The new features on both sites will allow you to share your location with your friends at any time by working out your location from your updates from your smartphone.

Facebook status geolocation is due to be announced at the F8 developer conference in April, according to The New York Times.

Twitter is expected to roll out its feature even sooner than that with an expected date of ‘any day now’. The site already lets people reveal their geo-location info through third party clients, but the new feature would be directly from the site itself.

Both Facebook and Twitter are pushing their geo-location features as it gives users relevant localised news and advertising and it helps find friends around them. But to us it sounds like another Privacy nightmare, on a Google Buzz level.

There are over 400 million Facebook users, and it is estimated that around 100 million of them update their status regularly from mobile devices.

Last month,  Twitter Users and security folk were falling over themselves to condemn Please Rob Me.com which provides real-time updates on empty homes locations. Although the site was meant as a warning to people who were being too open with their locations, critics felt it was a ‘one stop shop’ for burglars.

“As with all cool new technologies, [these new features] need to be handled with care,” said Carole Theriault, a Sophos Security Consultant. “There are some great strengths to geolocation, but there are also some concerns about who will actually see it. Do you really want others to know where you are at any given time?

“Given that Facebook and Twitter have been victims of a number of social networking attacks in the last 12-18 months, it does make one raise a security eyebrow.
“Some people do have a tendency to sign up to all technology simply because it is all shiny and new. I would urge people to think long and hard about the impact of this technology on their daily lives and weigh the pros and cons rather than blindly sign up for it.”