Lifestyle Culture and Society 22 Sep 2022 Check yourself befor ...

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | VIKRAM SHARMA
Published Sep 23, 2022, 1:45 am IST
Updated Sep 23, 2022, 1:45 am IST
Private jets, exquisite jewellery, luxury watches, uber cool, super expensive bags, Porsches and Lamborghinis — the rich and famous like to flaunt their possessions on social media all the time.(Photo: By arrangement)
 Private jets, exquisite jewellery, luxury watches, uber cool, super expensive bags, Porsches and Lamborghinis — the rich and famous like to flaunt their possessions on social media all the time.(Photo: By arrangement)

Private jets, exquisite jewellery, luxury watches, uber cool, super expensive bags, Porsches and Lamborghinis — the rich and famous like to flaunt their possessions on social media all the time. They give minute-by-minute updates on IG, revealing their exact locations. After all, it’s all about “staying connected” with the world. But what is often overlooked is that the practice makes it easy for anyone to track them.

The Kardashian family, US rappers PnB Rock, Pop Smoke – they all did this, and ended up paying a heavy price — either in the form of their luxury possessions or their lives.

In what appears to be an emerging trend, the West is witnessing a series of offences in which tech-savvy criminals are targeting people who flaunt their elite lifestyles on social media and also make known their locations to their followers — the dangers of real-time social media posts, especially by those who have a substantial online following.

A wake-up call for Indians

Back home, where cybercrime is on the rise, the new modus operandi in the West is being seen as a wakeup call.  

“Not every follower is your fan or a friend. While sharing your real time location can endanger your personal safety (via stalkers and haters), your valuables and family back home are also under threat. If you are in a position to influence mass followers, it is also important that you practice responsible content sharing and advocate privacy, as that’s the only way to keep yourself safe in cyberspace,” feels Nirali Bhatia, Cyber Psychologist.

Social media is a double-edged tool. “While it gives you the opportunity to rise to fame, it also puts you at risk of various types of cybercrimes. Over-sharing of information (especially personal details) could endanger you professionally, physically and psychologically,” warns Nirali.

In the West, posting personal information has led to thefts and even murders in burglaries gone wrong. The most recent case is that of US rapper PnB Rock, who was shot dead in a botched robbery attempt while he was at a restaurant in south Los Angeles. His location is believed to have been tracked online after his girlfriend geotagged the restaurant on an IG post. It was shared minutes before the shooting.

Another artist Pop Smoke met a similar end after he flaunted his luxurious possessions online. In his case, a 15-year-old hatched the robbery plan after coming across Smoke’s posts of photos of a black gift bag from luxury clothing brand Amiri, that gave away the address of the rental premises where he was staying.

Instagram-loving star Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016 after offenders tracked her movements online. The Kardashian family has now changed the way they use social media.

“The shiny toy that is the social media has dissolved all the fears, apprehensions and boundaries we build for our protection and the protection of our families. The information being put out in real time is making it easy to plan physical crimes, stalking, blackmailing, theft, the whole gamut,” says senior IPS officer Abhilasha Bisht.

Cyber space is fraught with danger, she says, and points to poor cyber control and very laissez faire policies in the virtual world. “Planning conspiracies or hatching plans has become very easy. Perpetrators no longer need to be in the same country or city to do so. Communication and information are at their fingertips. But importantly, the responsibility of our safety begins with us. We need to ensure we are being responsible while living in the cyberworld of social media,” cautions Abhilasha, who is currently Additional DGP, TS Special Police. “With the  precise location status, you are also telling the perpetrators that you are out of home,” she points out.  

Think before you share your location

In the West, various studies have shown that nearly 78 per cent of people share information online because it enables them to stay connected with those they may otherwise find it difficult to remain in touch with. In another study, 69 per cent of those surveyed said they post such details for ‘self-fulfilment’ as it allows them to feel more involved in the world.

Social media influencer Divya Boppana feels the lifestyles celebrities lead come with a fair share of negative aspects, and one cannot entirely blame them. “People want to see celebrities and many are obsessed with them. There is always a negative for a positive. But since the lives of celebrities are out there on social media, they should be more careful in what they are posting, when they are posting and where they are posting from,” she stresses. A security cover will help to a great extent, she feels. “But they can always geotag or post their locations later,” she points out, adding, “Everyone is aware of this but sometimes, luck runs out and people get harmed. You can only be cautious about so much.”

Highlight:

In the West, posting personal information has led to thefts and even murders in burglaries gone wrong. The most recent case is that of US rapper PnB Rock, who was shot dead in a botched robbery attempt while he was at a restaurant in south Los Angeles. His location is believed to have been tracked online after his girlfriend geotagged the restaurant on an IG post. It was shared minutes before the shooting.

Instagram-loving star Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016 after offenders tracked her movements online. The Kardashian family has now changed the way they use social media.

"The sheer volume of content, especially personal content, that is being posted in real-time is inconceivable. Everyone makes announcements, shares their views, advice, style, achievements, all the details about their families and children."

Abhilasha Bisht
Additional DGP, TS Special Police 

“Social media is a double-edged tool. While it gives you the opportunity to rise to fame, it also puts you at risk of various types of cybercrimes. Over-sharing of information (especially personal details) could endanger you professionally, physically and psychologically.”

Nirali Bhatia,
Cyber Psychologist

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