26-year-old Yiannis Kakavas has invented Creepy, an application that he describes as a “geolocation information aggregator,” thinq.co.uk reports. What that means: Type in someone’s Flickr or Twitter account into Creepy, and it will cultivate all the information available from the user’s photos or tweets and draws a map of their locations at the time of posting. If you feel that this is an invasion of privacy, keep in mind that all the information used is already public. Scary, huh?
Unbeknownst to many Twitter and Flickr users, “Images shared on the service via sites like Twitpic and Yfrog are often taken on a smartphone — which…records the location information in the EXIF data of the image.” Creepy just finds that info automatically and produces a map of where said images were taken and tweets were made:
While the location of an individual tweet might not reveal much, visualising a user’s history on a map reveals clusters around their home, their workplace, and the areas they hang out. Everything a stalker could need, in other words.
Yiannis Kakavas says he made Creepy to teach people to be more careful when using social networks:
“I wanted to stress how ‘easy’ it is to aggregate all the seemingly small and innocent pieces of data people are sharing into a ‘larger picture’ that potentially gives away information that users wouldn’t think of sharing. For example, where do they live, where do they work, where and at what times they are hanging out, when they are not at home et cetera. I think that sometimes it is worth ‘scaring’ people into being more careful on how much they share online.
Everything is location aware these days. Your mobile phone has a GPS receiver, your social networking platforms want to know where you are.”
If the police find you hiding in the bushes at your ex-girlfriend’s cooking class, please don’t tell them where you got the app.
“Creepy app warns of an end to privacy” [thinq.co.uk]