Please Rob Me–Or Please Don’t Post Your Whereabouts

Dutch developers have created PleaseRobMe, a site that posts the locations of empty homes, based on information from real-time location site FourSquare. The BBC has the story:

The Dutch developers told BBC News the site was designed to prove a point about the dangers of sharing precise location information on the internet. The site scrutinises players of online game Foursquare, which is based on a person’s location in the real world. PleaseRobMe extracts information from players who have chosen to post their whereabouts automatically onto Twitter.

Mr Van Amstel, Frank Groeneveld and Barry Borsboom realised that not only were people sharing detailed location information about themselves and their friends, they were also by default broadcasting when they were away from their own home. He said that the site would remain live but stressed it was not created to encourage crime.

“The website is not a tool for burglary,” he said. “The point we’re getting at is that not long ago it was questionable to share your full name on the internet. We’ve gone past that point by 1000 miles.”

Mr Van Amstel added that in practice it would be “very difficult” to use the information on the website to carry out a burglary.

Sure makes updating your location less fun. Also, if someone actually does get robbed through this site, aren’t the developers kind of responsible? I’m not sure how anyone in the States would sue two guys in Holland, but the potential is there.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.