Home > privacy > Introducing creepy …

Introducing creepy …

or “The birdy told me where you’ve been” .

Creepy – A geolocation information aggregator


Well, privacy concerns with regards to information shared across social networking platforms is not something new. At the same time it doesn’t get old also.  I will spare you the links session, google can fetch all the papers , articles you ll ever need. Location awareness is rolled out not only in platforms created for that reason ( foursquare, gowalla ) but also in facebook ( call me places ), twitter ( location feature(?)) . Moreover as was shown here , almost a year ago, by Johannes B. Ullrich (@johullrich) users tend to ( even unknowingly )  share their location via EXIF tags in the pictures they share with everyone on image hosting services.  Then came PleaseRobMe and iCanStalkYou which really helped to made the point clear.

What :

Creepy is a geolocation aggregator. It searches for a users geolocation information that he/she has shared publicly in the social networking platforms that he/she uses. In the version released , twitter, flickr, foursquare (through twitter ) and a list of image hosting services are supported. You feed creepy with the twitter username and/or flickr id of the user and it retrieves all the locations the user has shared. Locations are determined by

  • Location information on twitter
  • foursquare checkins
  • exif tags from pictures uploaded to a number of image hosting services and posted to twitter
  • geolocation information from photos posted on Flickr

Locations are presented as a list and are also shown in an embedded map ( courtesy of the awesome osmgpsmap widget) . For each location, the context is also presented ( i.e. the text that the user tweeted ) . Features include automatic caching of discovered information ( retrieved tweets, determined locations ) in order to minimize API calls to twitter and flickr, and a (not so nice) GUI in pygtk.

Why :

Well , I have had the idea since I first read the article by Dr . Ullrich. Then came icanstalkyou and pleaserobme , but it was not exactly what i was thinking about.

Ok, the goal is double. First , to raise awareness . By making the process of retrieving and analyzing all the shared location-specific information that users share , easy and automated , I hope to make clear how easy it is for someone to stalk you, rob you, find out where you ve been and why e.t.c. It’s not worth to rewrite how one can defend himself and control the information he is sharing so I ll provide a link to the instructions posted on icanstalkyou  about disabling geotagging in smartphones and see here about how to enable/disable the location feature in twitter.

The second goal is to create a tool to add in your social engineering toolbox.  The ethics are a bit blurry , so I just want to state that I do not endorse stalking or any other form of use of creepy for malicious purposes . What the app does is to aggregate information already publicly shared . If you find that useful, you’ re welcome to use it 🙂

Screenshots :

Here are some screenshots of creepy in use

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where :

You can find creepy on github . I can count on the fact that there are many bugs lurking around, so use the tool , find them, and I’ll promise I’ll fix them soon enough . Enjoy !

  1. February 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    More than interesting!!! I have disabled all this kind of services…..I think…Good job re

  2. March 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    woot, nice work!

  3. BUGrad
    January 15, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Creepy looks really cool. I wonder if I can use it to visualize some survey results we’ve collected based on location data from an opt-in panel of users. Is there a way to load just plain lat/lon/time triplets into the system from a custom data store?

  1. March 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm
  2. March 29, 2012 at 8:10 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: