New platform for self-exposure

Consider the privacy issue in light of the social networking that's becoming increasingly common on and with cellphones. "Almost 55% of all mobile phones sold today in the United States have the [GPS] technology that makes friend-and- family-tracking services possible," the New York Times reports, zooming in on one such service, loopt. In another article, it reports that Google has just acquired phone-based "micro-blogging" service Jaiku in Finland. The article talks about the potential for 24/7 "live diaries," which doesn't sound that different from a Web-based social-networking profile or blog; it merely provides a new platform for teenage self-exposure. Jaiku says it's trying to strike a balance between giving users privacy options and the convenience they seem to expect. The problem is, as an executive told the Times, a lot of people have this illusion that they enjoy privacy when they actually don't. I suspect that's even more true with teens if they even care about privacy – they err on the side of believing their privacy's protected. Jaiku told the Times it "extracts a lot of information automatically" from user's phones – something for parents, online-safety advocates, and policymakers to think seriously about. [Last month Google bought mobile-social-networking startup Zingku last month, the San Francisco Chronicle reports in "Mobile social networking taking off," which also mentions phone-based photo-sharing services Radar and Zannel. Photo-sharing is another favorite social activity among teens and 20-somethings.]

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