Please Rob Me: The dangers of Foursquare

Ronny Kerr · February 17, 2010 · Short URL:

New site aggregates streams from location-based networks so you know who to rob and when

Please Rob Me is on a mission to raise awareness of the dangers of location-aware services.

The basic idea is that whenever you "check-in" to a location with services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz, the rest of us can probably assume that that location is not your house. Guess what? That means we all know that your house is ripe for some burglarizing.

To hammer this glaring insecurity home, all Please Rob Me needs to do is display a real-time updated stream of the latest tweets from users who, for example, just checked in somewhere on Foursquare. Please Rob Me also sends a tweet out to the user, letting them know that it may not always be the best idea to advertise to the whole world their exact location all the time.

Please Rob Me

The site's mission statement:

The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not... home. So here we are; on one end we're leaving lights on when we're going on a holiday, and on the other we're telling everybody on the internet we're not home. It gets even worse if you have "friends" who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That's right, slap them across the face.

Mobile location-based services like Foursquare have drawn users in droves for the fun and novelty of seeing what your friends are up to and earning points and badges for visiting businesses and cool places in your city.

Response to the site on Twitter has been mostly favorable, with users praising the site's ability to get people thinking about a pretty serious issue ("If you are using 4sq, aren't you really saying @pleaserobme? Love the site").

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