Really, Do People Always Need To Know Where You Are All Times

October 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Computers

Be on the look out for the hair-raising truths about a new app that warns of an end to internet privacy. It is identified as Creepy, a “geolocation information aggregator” created by Yiannis Kakavas. Many privacy rights advocates have raised their apprehension about the potential effect of this application to privacy. Should this really be a cause for worry?

Creepy was created by Kakavas for Linux or Windows. The third package that is still in development is for Mac OS X. Essentially, this app pinpoints a user’s location by making use of the user’s data in social networking services. It can do this by collecting bits of the user’s data that is uploaded to the network and putting together pieces of information. The software has just been launched but is already performing well.

Creepy has an in-built search utility to find any individual in the internet. All that the user has to do is to key in the Twitter or Flickr username of that individual then hit the “Geolocate Target” button. Creepy will then download all photos or tweets that the individual has published or posted. From each of the downloaded materials, Creepy will be particular with the user’s location at the time the information was published.

To create a significant set of data, the software gathers every piece of available information pertaining to the user’s location. After its processing, the user’s different locations are presented by showing a map. Taken one by one, these data on locations do not have much to tell, but when gathered jointly as a whole, the user might really feel creepy. Too much data is revealed, compromising the user’s most frequented places or hang outs, the area around his or her home, and even in his or her office. This data is just enough to make him or her a victim of stalking.

It only took three months for Kakavas to finish the program. He made use of available data found in publicly available libraries like osmgpsmap, pyexif2, and tweepy. In his mind, Kakavas believes that he has created something that will encourage people to put more importance on their privacy. He would like to intensify user awareness about the dangers of casual sharing of personal information online.

He explains that small pieces of data can be put together in order to make bigger, more meaningful information. Users are often too late to realize that it would have been better if they kept that information to themselves. The common ones are address, place of work, the places they hang out most often, when they are not at home, and many others.

He added further that he created Creepy also for social engineers to have a means for information gathering. Particularly for security analysts, Creepy can be used to carry out penetration testing. The information that they gather now can be used for other purposes later.

Using a software application like Creepy pin points where you are located at all times. The opposite of this is to use an anonymous proxy to hide your IP address which masks your actual location.