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Your Old Tweets Give Away More Location Data Than You Think

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Tracking users down based on their tweets.

An international group of researchers has developed an algorithmic tool that uses Twitter to automatically predict exactly where you live in a matter of minutes, with more than 90% accuracy.

Credit: Casey Chin/Getty Images

An international team of researchers has developed an algorithm that uses Twitter to automatically predict a user's location within minutes.

The Location Privacy Auditor (LPAuditor) exploits the inclusion of global-positioning system (GPS) coordinates within geotagged tweets as part of each tweet's metadata, accessible via Twitter's application programming interface (API).

Sharing location data is now an opt-in policy rather than automatic, but the GPS data users shared before the update is still available through the API.

LPAuditor is designed to analyze geotagged tweets and deduce detailed information about people's most sensitive locations.

Its analysis of coordinate clusters and timestamps on tweets allowed it to infer thousands of users' whereabouts.

LPAuditor could find home locations by studying locales where users spent the most time tweeting over the weekend. Places of work were determined by analyzing places where users tweeted the most, apart from home, and the time frames when those tweets were sent.

From Wired
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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