Please Rob Me site exposes danger of sharing too much information online

Filed Under: Law & order, Social networks, Twitter

Users of sites like Twitter and Foursquare will be all-too-familiar with seeing messages from friends broadcasting their current location and - through implication - that they're not at home.

A new website called Please Rob Me mashes together content from Foursquare and Twitter, providing an easy way for potential burglars and stalkers to find out where you are supping your cappuccino, and when you may have left your home empty.

Please Rob Me website

Although playfully presented as an aid for house robbers, the Please Rob Me website claims to be designed with one simple purpose in mind: to raise awareness of the dangers of sharing too much information online:

The goal of this website is to raise some awareness on this issue and have people think about how they use services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz etc. Because all this site is, is a dressed up Twitter search page. Everybody can get this information.

And they're right - there's nothing on Please Rob Me that you can't find directly from these websites. It will be interesting to see if Foursquare and Twitter attempt to prevent Please Rob Me from automatically scooping up data from their sites following the publicity this "service" has received, but the most important thing we can all learn from this website is the importance of being more careful with the information we share with everybody on the internet.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.