Twitter, Facebook Usage Could Lead to ‘Holiday Robberies’

When Vince Hunter switched on his iPhone, the last thing he expected to see was his house being broken into. The Dallas resident was vacationing with family and friends in Connecticut, planning on enjoying the weekend and catching up with good company. Instead, he was forced to sit through a real time broadcast of his own home being burgled, damaged, and violated.

The reason for Hunter’s surprising broadcast is a unique security system. By pairing a new iPhone application – iCam – with his home security system, Vince was able to record the thieves in action as they broke into his home. The footage has since been turned over to police, who plan to use it as evidence in the search for the not-quite-so-discreet criminals.

Hunter is one of many Americans who opted to pair the application with their security system, and his plan is likely to be picked up by more as similar break-ins occur. With Facebook and Twitter so prominent in many of our lives, the importance of digital privacy is becoming more important than ever. Police believe many similar break-ins occur because of people posting holiday plans online.

Thieves can view such information publicly, often plotting to break into residences while the owner is thousands of miles away. Although applications such as iCam go some way towards repairing the obvious threat, they’re rarely enough. Hunter’s security system was programmed to work alongside the device, automatically calling the police department upon detecting movement in the house.

Enjoy your holiday time, but do so responsibly. Given the privacy concerns surrounding services like Facebook and Twitter, it’s essential that users think before posting information that could lead to a break-in or other crime. Online privacy experts have suggested that users keep their travel and leisure plans private, or only reveal them to a network of close friends.