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'Please Rob Me': Answering Machine and Wedding Edition

You've been scared straight by the fear-mongers by now: users of geolocation services such as Foursquare and Brightkite will surely be robbed, they say, by evil-doers who use the "I am here" information to then go where you are not -- home. Oh, and your insurance premiums may go up because you are such a crazy risk-taker in announcing your geolocation daily.

But as Andy Baio notes in this post on his Waxy blog, these are not new issues. Baio notes that as far back as 1977, people have been warning the public that if they do things like list a funeral or wedding in the newspaper, you are also saying, "Please Rob Me." That is because a "good robber" reads the newspaper and hits your house while you are mourning at the funeral or living it up at the wedding reception:


That's not all. Baio also provides a great warning from 1983 from the do-gooders at Family Circle magazine who identified another old-school "geolocation" issue -- answering machines:


When you think about it, almost anything you do that indicates you will be out in public and not planted at home is, to some tiny degree, a request to "Please rob me."

Drive your car out of your neighborhood? Please rob me!

Coach a Little League team whose game times are posted on a Web site? Please rob me!

I still haven't heard a single "benefit" of using Foursquare yet from fans of the service in response to my request, but I have to say that it doesn't look any more dangerous than most of things we do in life. So to people like @ryansholin, who "tweeted" last night that he'd just become "the mayor of Route 7 Eastbound left turn lane at Potomac View Road on @foursquare!," I say keep Livin' La Vida Loca!

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 24, 2010 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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