Stubblog


Am I right to be concerned about fon.com?
March 5, 2007, 8:37 pm
Filed under: criticism, fon, social networking, wifi

For the uninitiated, Fon.com is “the largest wifi community in the world”. You let others share your wifi, they let you share theirs, a pretty good idea for people visiting other towns and cities (assuming there’s coverage). They even gave away a free wifi router with DMZ capability, mine arrived the other week, but as yet I havn’t set it up, and I’m really unhappy with them.

By default it shows you a map (in my case of the UK) and lots of little dots placed at the address you gave for the wireless point in your settings, it even shows you the address of the dot. That’s right when you sign up for Fon’s service you get your name and address plastered across a map, showing you exactly where it is!!!

You are supposed to be able to change this via the “My Personal Info” page, but all I get when I do is a blank page.

With all the fuss recently over personal info being exposed via social networking sites, I have to admit this is the only one that’s caused me any concern, I didn’t see a warning telling me that my address was going to be shown on a map, along. There is advice on how to make it less specific, but I feel it should be the other way around .

To make matters worse, there seems to be a problem with the My Personal Info page as I write this, and it just ends up at a blank page, and the details are left blank.

UPDATE: 24hrs since I emailed their tech support, and the service still seems to be down. I’m starting to look for the “Close Account” button

UPDATE (14/06): Over a week, and still no update, still unable to change my details.

Update: Yes, I was.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Concerned? If you want to be concerned about something that deals with personal information, be concerned with those kids on myspace and stuff like facebox and whatever crappy social network thing is the hype right now.

Personally, I think that having your adresse on a map is no big deal, considering that some hackers can get your SSN and credit card numbers with some advanced Googleing.

The provocative question: What’s the worst that can happend when someone that you don’t know has your adress?

Comment by Maxime Rousseau

Ok, to answer your last question first, the worst that could happen is that someone could steal your identity, they could stalk you, harrass you, burgle you. Some more unlikely outcomes than others, but you did ask what the “worst” was …

It’s not that my address is displayed, as you say a half determined ner-do-well could find that information out already, however it ‘s the fact that it wasn’t made clear to me in the first place that’s what was going to happen, along with the fact that I don’t seem now to be able to change it.

As for MySpace, I couldn’t agree more, but there are some very good social networks, Last.fm, Twitter & Flickr being my favorites.

Comment by Stuart Grimshaw




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