Social Networking is a trend you cannot hide from. I believe we either already have reached, or soon are going to reach the point where you’ll earn yourself a confused stare upon revealing not to be using Facebook.
How else would you know you have any friends in the first place, right?

Anyway, after the big impact of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which mostly focus on the exchange of text, images or videos, now the location related services, like Foursquare or Google Latitude are growing; to a point that also Facebook and Twitter are adding geo information to their services.

Now the question is: Do I really want to enable, possibly random, people to track my movements or the lack thereof?

I don’t want to deny these services a certain usefulness, especially Foursquare, with its extendable list of shops, restaurants and other venues, and tips associated with the listed venues, is quite useful.
The use behind Google Latitude, a service apparently solely designed to track the location of its users, is less obvious, and thus comes with more of a bitter taste than other services which will show people on a map where you are hanging out.

The use I see here is simply that if you try to meet up with your Latitude using friends and can’t quite manage to, Latitude can show you where they are. The threats a system like this poses to personal privacy, in my opinion, outweigh the use, which, at the moment, anyway does not really go beyond being a toy to play around with, immensely.

Smartphones are everywhere now. You see so many people running around with Androids, iPhones and whatnots that it’s getting hard to find a “regular” mobile phone. And people make more and more use of the features that require the phone to be connected to the Internet. My Android is always connected, thanks to a plan that provides me with unlimited data usage. And I am pretty sure that soon enough that will be what the majority will be using.

So let’s consider this for a moment: You wake up, feel like somebody hit you with a sledgehammer and decide to call in sick. Happens, right?
But what if your contract contained a clause that required you to allow your employer to track your movements using Google Latitude?
Imagine you visit the doctor, get your medicine, and after taking your drugs and recovering from the subsequent knockout you feel a lot better, and decide to go shopping. And just at that moment your employer decides to check on you.
Scary stuff, huh?

Or imagine the jealous boyfriend sitting in front of his monitor for hours, keeping track of his girlfriend.

Sure, you can set a specific location in Latitude, or you can hide your location, but if you’re bound by contract to reveal your location, as in my first example, you have a problem. And the jealous boyfriend certainly wouldn’t like his girlfriend to hide her location either.
Setting a location manually, in order to pretend to be in that place, is prone to human error, and thus offers you a good opportunity to set a nice trap for yourself; when you’re employer can see you sitting at your desk while on Latitude you’re still at home…

Overall I think there is potential in location relation services like Latitude. But, as with everything else that’s new and exciting, you wanna keep an eye on possible threats.

Thank you!
Dennis Wronka

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