Privacy Files: Where’s Waldo?


Once again, Facebook’s crack team of engineers has answered another burning question for civilization. Are any of my “friends” nearby?

As reported in Business Insider:

Today, Facebook launches a new function for its Android and iPhone apps called “Nearby Friends,” which allows users to track each others’ locations continuously down to the nearest half mile or — if you choose — as near to your precise location as possible.

Could be creepy, but Facebook developer Andrea Vaccari is said to be “painfully aware” of the stalking applications of the app. To protect users, Nearby Friends is voluntary, opt-in, and limited only to people who you want to see you. You can also put a timer on it.

But as Josh Constine at Tech Crunch points out:

just because Facebook built it with safety options doesn’t mean people will use them.

Most people   . . . will just share with all their friends. That will includes bosses, co-workers, family members, and random people they met once but accepted a friend request from.

People will forget to turn it off. They’ll share their exact location indefinitely with plans to turn it off after a vacation together, but won’t remember to.

And what about all the fun we can have following partners, spouses and kids who will, of course, opt in. Why not? We’re all one big happy family. Aren’t we?

Otherwise, Nearby Friends is another way for Facebook to gather even more detailed data about you, me, our friends and our “friends.”

Vaccari says that, “currently,” Facebook has no plans to use that data for purposes outside the app.  “Currently.”

No discussion yet on the National Security Agency’s plans to use the data.

See the Tech Crunch article HERE.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission


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