#CyberFLASH: The withering of secrecy: Technology reveals your life on social media

Online Surveillance 20140327

VANCOUVER — How easy is it to use social media to find out what people are doing, without them realizing they are being watched? It took me less than two minutes to not only identify where

a randomly chosen 16-yearold girl lives, goes to school and hangs out with friends, but also to pinpoint within three houses where she babysits. And when she’s home alone with the kids.

From the Google Street View of those houses, it’s a fair guess she is at the one with all the toys in the yard.

I learned she plays soccer, is in French immersion, and is probably a skier or snowboarder if the resort where she spent Spring Break is any indication. I can probably correctly identify where she went to elementary school. I know what she looks like, and I can recognize her friends. And once I know where she lives, it’s not a big stretch to guess her parents’ identity.

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