Internet Privacy: We Know What You Are Doing On The Web…Really!

Facebook today is a part of life for millions of users around the world. If your boss fires you the very next day, folks from the police department are behind your back for indulging in drugs or your new phone number is spammed by marketing/blank calls every hour and the last thing you remember is posting a status, then YOU are primarily to be blamed. And We Know What You Are Doing website thinks you should stop doing so. If you are concerned about internet privacy, you definitely want to read on!

Started as a social experiment by Callum Haywood, this website reproduces public status posts of thousands of Facebook users who have recently posted about drugs, hating their boss, being hung over and about their new phone number! This reproduction of supposedly private information may come as a rude shock for many users and may result in serious consequences like getting fired, booked for drug possession etc. but Callum Haywood maintains that he has done no wrong as all this information is marked as public and easy available via Facebook’s Graph API.

A simple query for “The Geeks Club” gave us the following output:

This is not all as one can easily obtain public status updates of a particular Facebook user, foursquare check-ins, profile picture and a lot more through valid access tokens.

I ran a “Microsoft Redmond” search query under Foursquare Location finder and Google street map images of the exact location(s) with the number of check-ins and latitude/longitude were right in front of me!

However, an important thing to note is that only information marked as ‘public’ appears on this website which implies that majority of Facebook users post important and private content quite carelessly while being marked as ‘public’.

In an interview to CNN, Callum Haywood says, “I created the website to make people aware of the issues that it creates when they post such information on Facebook without any privacy settings enabled. The people featured on the site are most likely not aware that what they post as ‘public’ can be seen by absolutely anybody, and that Facebook will happily give away this information to other websites via its Graph API.”

This interesting social experiment unmasks the chinks in in a common user’s attitude armor and underlines his/her carelessness while dealing with private stuff; else why would Michelle R let her company know about her hatred for her boss or why would Gregg K.L let the whole world know about him smoking weed? No one would, but any content marked as ‘public’ indicates that the user is willingly and consciously sharing it. BOOM!

“The posts are already public, so its not my fault if people get fired, its theirs.” – Callum Haywood

We would hate to see you lose your job or cool your heels behind bars over a simple status update. So the next time you plan one, make sure you change the privacy settings accordingly. Prevention is better than cure.

Callum Haywood, founder of this website, We Know What You Are Doing, tweeted that the site had reached more than 100,000 unique visitors within 27 hours of it launch.

And the best part is? Callum Haywood is just 18 years old!

Head over to the We Know What You Are Doing website to check it out!