Publication Details

Fusco, S. J., Michael, K., Aloudat, A. & Abbas, R. (2011). Monitoring people using location-based social networking and its negative impact on trust: an exploratory contextual analysis of five types of "friend" relationships. ISTAS 2011: IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (pp. 1-11). Chicago, Illinois: IEEE.


Location based social networking (LBSN) applications are part of a new suite of social networking tools. LBSN is the convergence between location based services (LBS) and online social networking (OSN). LBSN applications offer users the ability to look up the location of another “friend” remotely using a smart phone, desktop or other device, anytime and anywhere. Users invite their friends to participate in LBSN and there is a process of consent that follows. This paper explores the potential impact of LBSN upon trust in society. It looks at the willingness of individuals to share their location data with family, friends, co-workers, the government, commercial entities and even strangers. The study used focus groups to collect data, and a qualitative approach towards analysis. The findings of the paper indicate that while most people are willing to share their real-time physical location with persons that they trust (e.g. family and close friends), they are generally reluctant to share such data with co-workers, government agencies and commercial entities. Even within the family context, people set limits to transparency depending on their personal circumstances (e.g. the parent-child relationship is quite different to the sibling relationship).

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