Posted by: Clarinette | September 20, 2010

Facebook launches Places – Pictures reveals geo-location and more.

Update : ‘German politicians on Monday called for comprehensive data protection regulations ahead of a summit in Berlin on handling hot-button issues such as geotagging and the controversial online mapping service Google Street View.’

Geolocation-Geotagging-Geo-fencing are becoming some of the most ‘in’ expressions between marketers. A multitude of devices and applications are increasingly GPS enabled revealing user’s geographical location. Willingly broadcast or unknowingly collected, these information can be a threat to privacy and security.

Two fairly recent cases are the best demonstration of the sort of issues to expect:
‘Online privacy: The inescapable web’ Madeeha*, a 26-year-old banker, got a nasty shock when she clicked on a mass email to discover it contained pictures of her and her friends at a party.

‘The night I was cyberstalked on Foursquare’ Shea Sylvia, online marketer at the Guardian UK, needed to be called by a stranger to realize giving out her geo-location could reveal a serious threat.

Between recent related analyze of the phenomenon with the start of Facebook Places, one is by Shireen Smith from Azrights Sollicitors, ‘Facebook Places, Privacy and Implied Consent‘ and the second one, in French, by Adrianne Jeffries, on the ReadWriteWebFrance, ‘Facebook Places : aperçu et analyse’

Christopher Burgess, Senior security advisor at Cisco, writes in his article on the Huffington Post ‘Grandparents Day — Celebrate Your Grandchildren Online, Safely!’ warning grandparents upload of children pictures online.

PC Advisor in ‘Web privacy: How online photos reveal more than you know’, gives a good overview of the issues of digital photography with enables GPS revealing personal information, geo-location and well as information about the camera etc… These photos are easily downloaded on Social networking sites. The article reports that ‘To highlight geotagging-related privacy issues, Jackson and Larry Pesce, a colleague, adopted the Twitter username ICanStalkU to respond to tweeters who posted geotagged images. Twitter shut down the account but let Jackson back in after he argued for the need to educate users. He has also started a website called to get his message out.

The technology can easily aggregate these information to other pictures and information available online using facial or gait recognition software.
Remember Eric Shmidt from Google was asking for 14 pictures to find an individual’s identity, well that seems totally over-estimated.

Preparing myself a paper on this issue, all comments are, of course, very well comed.
Privacy, control, and transparency are the key issues of this debate.



  1. Hi Tara,
    Thanks for referring to my article on your blog. Another very enlightening blog to alert your readers to is by Wired’s David Rowan

  2. Thanks Shireen for your link, I have added it to my pealtrees Geolocation

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