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This Tool Is Designed To Scare You Off Geotagging

By entering a Twitter or Instagram handle, Ready or Not displays data showing where its user has been and what information they sent out. It was built as part of a project titled “Teaching Privacy” that targets high schoolers.

What’s the Latest Development?

As part of a project titled “Teaching Privacy,” which is funded by the National Science Foundation, a group of International Computer Science Institute (ISCI) researchers created a site, Ready or Not, that displays geographical information related to an individual Twitter or Instagram account. Assuming the geotagging function is on, entering the person’s handle will bring up graphical and text data showing where they were when they used the service as well as what they posted.

What’s the Big Idea?

Although Teaching Privacy targets high schoolers, everybody could use a bit of extra awareness. ISCI researcher Gerald Friedland admits that Ready or Not is meant to scare people: “Most…do not know that if you tweet something this location data is actually publicly available.” Not surprisingly, there are many who appreciate this carelessness, as evidenced by a 2011 survey of convicted burglars in which 54 percent said that putting one’s status and whereabouts online is “a big mistake.” Furthermore, at a recent engineering conference in France, Friedland discovered that very few attendees were even aware of geotagging. “If Ph.Ds in computer science don’t know [about it], the average person is going to have big trouble.”

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Read it at GigaOM