I have written before about privacy concerns with social networking services such as FaceBook, Twitter, Google Buzz, and others. Now a group by the name of Forthehack has launched a website called Please Rob Me that hunts out tweets from people who are also using location-based services to tell the world that they're out of town, and then directs the world to go rob their house.
Forthehack publishes a listing all the empty homes that are available to be robbed by publishing a live feed of those Foursquare players who automatically post location updates to Twitter.
My first reaction was that "These people shouldn't be allowed to publish this" but the fact is that such information is the public domain. If we genealogists want the government to continue to provide access to public domain information, we have to accept the fact that everyone has access to ALL public domain data. We cannot be selective.
I would suggest the problem is not with the sites that publish such data. Instead, access to such data is under OUR control. In this case, "our" control is us, the people who generate such information.
The answer to this "problem" is extremely simple. If you don't want your house robbed, don't publish the fact that you are leaving on a public web site! All of this is under YOUR control.
Irresponsible action on your part can result in the information being used against you.
The creators of the Forthehack site state that they created the site to show how risky social networking sites are. They want you to understand the risks, so they created a web site that aggressively shows some of those risks. They strongly encourage everyone to think twice before publishing the details of their personal lives. I agree with them. Do you?
You can read more at http://www.forthehack.com.