Opinion

Teenage developer knows what the bankers are doing

Never let it be said that teenagers aren’t responsible.  

Last week, 18 year old Nottingham student Callum Haywood launched Weknowwhatyouredoing.com, which is a sort of short sharp online shock for Facebook miscreants. It exposes the stupid announcements that people make in public and hopefully teaches them to be more circumspect. Or at least to change their Facebook settings.  

The site automatically searches Facebook for terms like “hungover” and “hate my boss” then publishes the posts under headings like “Who wants to get fired”.

By last week, the site had been visited by 500,000 individuals (I’m told they were uniques.... Mind you I visited about 490,000 times).

"I created the website to make people aware of the issues that it creates when they post such information on Facebook without any privacy settings enabled," said Haywood.

No national newspapers have covered this story, presumably because this site will affect their chances of getting scoops. If politicians learn to be more adult online there will be no more Diane Abbott style revelations. Politics reporters would have to call the story Closethegate.

Another section of the site shows how easy it is to aggregate public check-ins from social media sites such as Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter. This information would tell any burglar when a Foursquare user is not at home and where they live.

"The people featured on the site are most likely not aware that what they post as public can be seen by absolutely anybody,” explains Haywood. All the potentially damaging information on his site is already in the public domain and is available to other websites through the standard Facebook interface.

As the banking scandal worsens, journalists could start searching social networks for signs of collusion. Banking staff are strictly forbidden to use anything as flaky as Facebook or Hotmail while at work. So you can bet the senior executives, to whom the rules don’t apply, are it like crazy, on corporate social networking sites like Yammer and Tibbr.

They used email to fix interest rates, so they must be pretty dense.

Maybe Callum at Weknowwhatyouredoing.com should add an extra column. “Who wants to go to jail?”

The thing is, he’s only just started. Wait until he gets onto Big Data analysis, then you’re in trouble, you wunch of bankers!

Callum is going to Hadoop you for breakfast.

This was first published in July 2012

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