Bicycle Network: Behaviour
GPS & Security
Sharing your GPS data can be a great social networking facilitator, but there are security implications.
Take me to your thiever
18 March 2013. Police believe thieves may be using GPS data uploaded to ride-sharing web sites to trace and locate valuable road bikes for theft.
More than $250,000 high end bikes were stolen in four months in Staffordshire, UK. Police said ride-sharing platforms allow thieves to see where regular rides begin and end, which could indicate an owner’s home.
Riders have been asked to tighten up the privacy settings for their GPS and associated web presence.
The thefts were concentrated in one area of the county, with bikes being taken from sheds and outbuildings.
Sgt Dave Morris, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Our investigations have shown that some of the victims had been using websites and mobile phone apps to log their routes – these sites allow users to view each others routes and track their rides.
"Some of the GPS data recorded and shared on these sites is so accurate you can pinpoint the house where the journeys have begun and ended.”
He added that the issue could be exacerbated by the platforms linking to Twitter and Facebook, which could inadvertently ‘advertise’ the whereabouts of bikes.
Morris said riders should check privacy settings and consider restricting who can view their data.
Another option could be to start rides a few streets from their front door.