Is Your Twitter Account Saying Too Much?

Monday, August 26, 2013

New app shows you how much your social media accounts are sharing

Ready or Not? app

An app developed by members of the cross-disciplinary Teaching Privacy Team shows how your postings on social media might be used to track you - and what you can do to protect your privacy. The Ready or Not? app uses publicly available GPS data attached to your Twitter and Instagram posts to create a map of where you've been posting from and when you're posting there. Strangers could take advantage of this information to find you in the physical world.

The app is part of a Web site designed by the team that seeks to spread awareness among users, particularly younger ones, about what communicating over the Web really means - who has access to what personal information and how providing that information could be harmful. It explores ten principles for social media privacy by explaining what happens to personal information when it goes online, how it might be used to negatively affect users, and how they can defend their privacy by limiting what they share. The site also provides real-life examples of online privacy attacks.

Your information footprint is larger than you thinkThe Teaching Privacy team includes computer scientists, educators, and social scientists at ICSI and UC Berkeley. The work is funded by the National Science Foundation through the Geo-Tube project. The project seeks to help Internet users, and especially younger students, understand the ways in which it is possible to aggregate public and seemingly innocuous information from different media and Web sites to attack their privacy.

High schoolers have a particularly high risk of experiencing privacy attacks since they are the most frequent users of social networking sites and apps but often do not have a full understanding of the potential consequences of sharing information online: they may not realize how much they are sharing because they do not understand how broadly information on the Internet can be spread. The project aims to provide a set of educational tools and hands-on exercises to help teachers demonstrate what happens to personal information on the Internet and the potential negative effects of sharing it.

Visit the Teaching Privacy Web site at
Use the app at
Read our blog post about the Ten Principles for Social Media Privacy.

More information about privacy work at ICSI:
Geo-Tube Project
Related publications