You may love your social media but a new study shows that relatively few posts a day on Twitter can reveal your physical location in as little as eight tweets per day.
As reported by Homeland Security Newswire, researchers at MIT and Oxford University have shown that the location stamps on just a few Twitter posts in a single day can be enough to reveal the addresses of the poster’s home and workplace, even to a relatively low-tech snooper.
The tweets may even be otherwise innocuous – maybe to funny videos or, say, comments on news stories. But the location comes from geographic coordinates automatically associated with your tweets.
Who knew, right?
For the initiated, you already know that Twitter’s location-reporting service is off by default, but many people choose to turn it on.
From MIT:
The new study is part of a more general project at MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative to help raise awareness about just how much privacy people may be giving up when they use social media.
The researchers describe their research in a paper presented last week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, where it received an honorable mention in the best-paper competition, a distinction reserved for only 4 percent of papers accepted to the conference.
“Many people have this idea that only machine-learning techniques can discover interesting patterns in location data,” says Ilaria Liccardi, a research scientist at MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative and first author on the paper. “And they feel secure that not everyone has the technical knowledge to do that.

“With this study, what we wanted to show is that when you send location data as a secondary piece of information, it is extremely simple for people with very little technical knowledge to find out where you work or live,” he added.
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