New security app to keep your digital secrets safe

January 19th, 2011 - 5:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Facebook Washington, Jan 19 (ANI): Wondering how to maintain privacy in the virtual world? Well, Tel Aviv University experts’ software solution could be the answer to your problem.

Eran Toch of Tel Aviv University says that it’s all about fine-tuning privacy settings based on user information and behavior.

His software solution, Locacino, is based on better security design, and provides users with a higher degree of control over their privacy settings. It also provides a glimpse into how people really share information between friends over the Internet.

Facebook’s privacy settings-or the lack thereof-can cost us relationships or a future job. But knowing how to fine-tune our settings can save a lot of future heartache, said Toch.

In collaboration with Norman Sadeh, Lorrie Cranor, and Jason Hong, all from Carnegie Mellon University, Toch created Locacino, a location-sharing application that can capture end-user security and privacy preferences in mobile computing.

In most social applications, it’s not easy to fine-tune privacy settings. Like FourSquare and Facebook “Places,” Locacino allows its users to track their friends’ physical location, but in Locacino, users can also see who is viewing their profiles and location updates, which may lead users to rethink and modify their privacy settings.

The team conducted large experiments using the Locacino application that was downloaded to users’ iPhones and Android phones.

Toch examined what kinds of location updates users are more likely to share, then determined the users’ “centers of privacy.”

Locacino’s flexibility also allows users to let their work colleagues know their physical location on weekdays, but not on weekends.

“If a friend tags you on an iPhone when you’re at a pub instead of at work, you have no control over work colleagues seeing that on Facebook. But if we give users more flexible privacy settings, they’re actually willing to share even more information online,” said Toch.

The findings were presented at Ubicomp, a leading conference on mobile computing. (ANI)

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