A new website called PleaseRobMe.com has been created to warn users about the potential perils of using services like Foursquare, Twitter and GoogleBuzz, which let users share their location online and ‘check in’ to places.
By aggregating all those publicly announced check-ins, the site serves up a handy list of people who have left their home and checked in elsewhere, ramming home the point that such information may prove invaluable to burglars.
The site was put together by three individuals in a few hours to highlight the dangers of location based Tweeting:
The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the Internet we’re not home.
It gets even worse if you have ‘friends’ who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the Internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That’s right, slap them across the face.
Boy van Amstel, one of the people behind the site, explained:
This project started with us being annoyed with people sharing their home address on Twitter and Foursquare. To make a point, we thought of this provocative way of letting them know what the consequences could be.
A lot of people seem to think that Twitter is like a chat client, with messages only visible to people you send them to, but this is only true if you set your Twitter privacy settings correctly
There’s been increasing reports about status updates leading to burglaries, so hopefully the publicity this site attracts may make people think twice before telling the world that they’re out for the night.