Mike Elgan writes:
An insurance expert told the Britain’s Telegraph newspaper that using location-centric mobile social services like Google Buzz, Twitter , Facebook and Foursquare could raise your home insurance premiums, or even result in the denial of insurance claims.
A gag Web site launched this week called “Please Rob Me” raised an ugly but obvious truth about location-based mobile social networking: When you tell the public where you are, you’re also telling burglars you’re not at home. The site originally displayed a real-time stream of Twitter and Foursquare posts that might interest criminals.
Twitter has since pulled the plug, apparently, and now all Please Rob Me posts are from Foursquare. Each post begins with the user’s name, followed by “left home and checked in” followed by an exact address of where the person is.
Insurance industry watchers like the one quoted by the Telegraph predict that after customers get burglarized and file claims on stolen property, the insurance companies will probably investigate to see whether the customer broadcast information over social networks in a way that constitutes “negligence.” They could also make “social networker” the homeowners insurance equivalent of “chain smoker” in health insurance — a category of customers who are charged higher premiums.
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