I’ve noticed a lot of my friends use foursquare. I have to admit, it sounds pretty cool, from what I’ve read. I love the idea of being rewarded as a frequent customer, or discovering new places near my usual stomping grounds. Lord knows I love a coupon, discount, or sale. But, aside from the fact that I am on a cheap and limited wireless plan, I’ve refrained from signing up because I don’t want my movements tracked and broadcasted.
No, this is not a tinfoil hat issue. I don’t really fear that The Man will use data on my movements against me. But I see this information as ripe for abuse by thieves, stalkers, and the like. I’m not sure that the information is always secure, even for users who set privacy settings to limit information to friends. And then, there’s the assumption, possibly incorrect, that you can trust all friends with the info. If you accept a friend request from every person in your high school class, do you really know all of them well enough to feel secure?
This whole privacy/trust/geo-locating thing has been rolling around in my head for weeks, and when I started to write this, I decided to check The Google and see if others shared my worries. Turns out a CNET piece on the topic came out today, and there’s been a lot of discussion on privacy and social media in the past few months. So perhaps I’m late to the party on this one, but whatever. Each time I notice a friend who’s become Mayor of some restaurant or coffee shop, I think of this. I would love to feel free to share this information and use services like foursquare without qualms, but I’m wired for worrying.