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Foursquare new privacy policy changes can generate a firestorm of controversy

World’s most popular location-based social networking website, Foursquare has announced changes to its privacy policy, displaying users whole names and giving businesses more customer data by default, though the check-in service is keen to point out that extra privacy can be restored with a few settings tweaks.

In 2012, Foursquare made almost three-billion check-in and added 15 million more users to its network.

According to Foursquare, user’s full names will appear with each and every check-in and that they will publicly viewable – – which will come into effect on January 28 2013.

Now a mix of user full names and first names and last initials are used, the new default will be to show first and last names consistently.

The next change is that, as for businesses, the amount of data they see on each recent customer will not change, but they will get data for a longer period.

“Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we’re going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth” Foursquare.” Foursquare explained in its e-mail.

In addition to the email, Foursquare released what they’re calling “Privacy 101,” a document that outlines its privacy policies in “an easy-to-read way.”

Foursquare said users can select the name they’d like to appear as a “full name” within the service’s normal settings window. Users can also elect to opt out of businesses being able to see their check-ins within the “Location Information” section of their “Privacy Settings” section.

What are your thoughts on Foursquare’s new privacy policy changes? Let us know in the comments below.

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A longtime internet addict and casual writer, recognized expert in Infrastructure, Web Operations, and Technology. Organizes, manages and leads the day-to-day operation of the Information Center by reinforcing the mission and providing compelling content.(

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