Snap Map Location Feature Raises Privacy Concerns

Snapchat’s new Snap Map location feature allows users to pinpoint the exact location of their friends in real time and that is causing some concern.

“I just feel that it’s a little too much information out there for everyone to see,” Diana Larock, of Wallingford, said.

Brian Kelly, chief information security officer for Quinnipiac University, said any Snapchat user can potentially see where you are and that raises red flags because so many users are children and could be unknowingly making themselves targets for predators.

“The stranger danger that we used to tell our kids about – you know, be on the lookout for a creepy van. Now they don’t need the van anymore. They can just go onto an application and find out where you are at any given time,” Kelly said.

“I think it’s kind of creepy because everyone can see who you are and a lot of people don’t know how to turn the location off, so it could be dangerous,” Megan Thorpe, of Wallingford, said.

To hide your location from the Snap Map, select “ghost mode” in the Snapchat settings.

Thorpe said she did that right away when she found out about it.

Ben Simmons-Telep, of East Hampton, said users don’t know exactly how data is being used or who has access to that data.

Security experts said parents should stay up to date about the apps sharing their children’s location and make sure children limit their audience or shut them off altogether.

“It’s really important for the parents to reach out and understand or speak to their kids about the dangers of the location in any application whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, any of those,” Kelly said.

Learn more about Snap Map here.

Anyone who sees anything inappropriate on Snap Map can report it by going to the Snap you want to report, press and hold on the Snap, tap the button that appears in the bottom left corner and let Snapchat know why you want to report the Snap.   

NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC Connecticut, has made a $500 million investment in Snapchat.

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