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Location-Sharing Technologies: Privacy Risks and Controls

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Due to the ability of cell phone providers to use cell phone towers to pinpoint users’ locations, the increasing popularity of GPS capabilities in cell phones, and the rise of cell phones for Internet use, a plethora of new applications have been developed that share users' real-time location information online. Foursquare, Loopt, and Google Latitude are just a few examples. This talk will discuss users’ risk and benefit perceptions related to the use of these technologies and the privacy controls of existing location-sharing applications. We'll also discuss Locaccino, a location-sharing service we developed to provide a platform for experimenting with privacy controls for end users. Locaccino provides users with precision control over who can see their location. While most location-based systems only allow users to list which contacts should or shouldn’t be able to see their location, Locaccino offers more granular privacy settings.

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