More on the topic of social-location and privacy… thanks to a loyal Twitter contact of mine for sharing details of this with me! Indeed many of us die-hard mobile, social-location users are re-thinking our commitment to sharing our location (I’ve discussed this at length recently). But if sharing your location with your personal contacts (think checking in via foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla, Loopt, Schmap etc…) isn’t enough cause for alarm it seems we now have a savvy (or dumb-ass) developer who’s taken this to the next level by twisting things around and populating a sleezy mashup that’s called, of all things, “Please Rob Me” http://pleaserobme.com/
Obviously, if mobile users are checking in from place A that it follows that they aren’t physically located at place B. The mashup enables users to search by location, for example, show me people in Denver, Colorado. The app then returns a list of twitter users who recently check-in to locales using foursquare – hence, the people obviously aren’t at home i guess! Obviously, this is essentially running a local search on tweets that contain information like “4sq” etc… not really rocket science although you can see how with very little effort, one can easily obtain information that can be used for ones personal gain (or harm).
The mashup is a bit clever (I guess), however, the idea and branding is, perhaps sleazy at first glance, although, in defense of the developers, they are trying to make a point with this app and are attempting to raise awareness about location and privacy/safety issues. If anything this is yet another reminder that with so much public information and social location information readily available, the possibilities for security and privacy breaches and mis-uses are endless. I may not be home right now, however, my teen-age son is and he’s packing a Minus 3 baseball bat so proceed with caution!!