Here is a story written by Kathy Pretz for the IEEE Institute that cites some of the work my students and I have been engaged in since receiving a large Australian Research Council Grant in 2008 on the theme of location-based services regulation in Australia. This particular component of the larger study was on the social implications of location-based social networking applications in Australia.

 

 

Here is an excerpt of the article:

"Want to know whether friends, relatives, or coworkers are nearby? You might no longer have to wonder. If they’ve signed up with one of more than 100 location-based social networks (LBSNs) or apps, including Facebook, Footprints, Foursquare, Latitude, and WhosHere, you can track them down. The services require users to give permission to display their whereabouts to others.

But what are the implications of such surveillance tools? In particular, what effect do they have on trust in relationships? Several IEEE members from the University of Wollongong, in Australia, wanted to find out. Their paper, “Location-Based Social Networking: Impact on Trust in Relationships,” which appeared in the summer issue of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, explains how they discovered that tracking technology might come with a cost. They determined that tracking can cause mistrust, exacerbate already strained relationships, and discourage people from taking each other at their word."