When people use sites like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, etc. they rely almost entirely on the technical competence and ability of those organizations to adhere to their own policies and user expectations. We assume (maybe wrongly so) that these sites have our best interests in mind.
A recent post from Foursquare on their blog discusses how users could “scrap[e] venue pages from our website through anonymous gateways, to capture private check-in information that users didn’t intend to share with the general public.”
Wired has an article titled Foursquare Puts Money Before Privacy discussing Foursquare’s current public financing negotiations and how it addressed the issue:
The response is quite telling. Foursquare had nine days to write a simple blog post, acknowledging the hole, explaining the fix and telling users they could opt out in the future and giving credit to Andersen. That’s how responsible disclosure works. But the company didn’t do any of those things. From that it’s clear to see that Foursquare isn’t focused on its privacy practices, and seems to be ignorant of the consequences of violating its privacy promises to users.
Point being, this is another reminder as we make more and more of our personal information available. The people we’re giving that information to have interests their own interests in mind and not ours.