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Foursquare – More Harm Than Good?

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The main aim of computer technology was to help people – but that was a long time ago… Technology has been overriding everyday life more and more but the question arises, where does it stop? Has technology become more invasive than helpful? Is it doing more harm than good, and sacrificing privacy at the hands of ‘innovation’? What are the complexities of the great technology debate?

On and on

The root of this dilemma goes as far back as the advent of the mobile telephone or the ‘cell’, as it was more popular known during it’s early years. These particularly interesting devices brought family and friends who were miles apart within a phone call of each other. It was fantastic, people could contact their spouses, family members, friends and other significant individuals anywhere and at anytime! It was all well and good when people began realising how purely annoying these little ‘things’ could be. First came the constant badgering of the spouse (couldn’t they live without calling you every second?). Then, the terrible bosses: now not only was everyone driven crazy by their boss during work, they could be annoyed while they were enjoying their holidays and weekends. It was truly a step backwards rather than forwards in terms of privacy. Gone were the days of being relaxed outside of work, it was the era of the rise of technology.

Public security and private danger – contradictory?

Taking a leap forward in time to today, we see the rise of services such as Google maps, ‘street view’, and foursquare. Although seemingly exciting at first, parallels can immediately be drawn to the days of the cellular phone. Great, now people can view a street, their distant friends, future home or everything else without going there. But what if one was to sit in their backyard after removing their clothes on a particularly hot afternoon? Evidently, they would be humiliated if they were to be found by anyone. Anyway, it doesn’t has to be an extreme case to show that the limit is exceeded. At every turn in the city, the tube or other public places, cameras are watching you. These security measures are comprehensive but Google street view or foursquare don’t make your life more secure, your home simply turns into another big brother pattern.

A further aspect to this location service fiesta is the social networking side of things. Now people can know exactly where their friends are, and where they have been. Evidently, there will be no privacy. So what happens if a certain ‘friend’ must be avoided at all costs, must they know where to find who they want whenever they please? People have to know more about these applications to avoid some problems and to protect their privacy given that this is quite contrary to security.

One of the major policy changes to the Google privacy policy this year was the use of search and email data. Google now holds the right to show people advertisements according to their emails and search history. So those questionable searches that everyone has performed are out in broad daylight now. Anyone who has access to a certain computer may see or get an idea of the kind of searches the owner has carried out. There is no ‘delete history’ option here, no more private browsing!

Overall, it is evident that while new technology brings new possibilities, there is always a downside – and a very large one at that. These new services like Google maps, street view and foursquare are capable of diminishing the little privacy we have, even the comfort of our own homes!

Brandon Barnes is a property blogger from London, United Kingdom. This article has been written in association with buying agent Rhodium. Rh-45.com offers luxury properties to buy and sale in central London, please visit the website for more information.

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