The Crime Report explores whether geotagging and the use of social networks makes us vulnerable to criminals. The website uses the example of Carri Bugbee, a Portland, Ore., social media marketing strategist whose use of a location-based mobile network to “check in” at a restaurant landed her on the website pleaserobme.com. While geotagging can be a useful public safety tool, it also represents uncharted territory in our increasingly networked lives.
Douglas Salane, director of the Center for Cybercrime Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the risks to privacy and public safety that come with mobile technology have been largely ignored. About 59 percent of American adults now use wireless Internet, up nine percent from one year ago, according to a Pew report on Internet use. About 76 percent use their mobile device to take pictures, and 54 percent have used it to send a photo or video. Metadata linked to photographs is only one example of the million of pieces of information we leave in our digital wake. And things are getting more complex. The future of the Internet will likely rely heavily on information that users produce and broadcast, either willingly or unwillingly.