now considered harmful [Week in Bullshit Redux]

by Ben Smith on 26th February 2010

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Earlier this week we highlighted the confused rubbish that was spouting about privacy and location-based services such as FourSquare. The site was intended to ‘raise awareness’ the creators claimed…

I disagreed:

…they can’t have it both ways… There’s either a genuine problem – in which case their tool pinpoints those at risk. Or there’s not – in which case they’re just toying with fears over on-line privacy…

What’s happened tonight is the worse of both worlds… If the [updated: now confirmed] report below is correct, Foursquare user Carri Bugbee has been harassed by two morons whilst out to dinner

Facebook report of harassment

Foursquare user Carri Bugbee reports harassment inspired by She's right of course and finding someone at a restaurant they checked into isn't actually a privacy risk...

It’s unlikely that the people in question had any concern for Carri’s safety or privacy (and in-fact it was not at any risk as she herself points our), but’s irresponsible message that people who use these services are idiots creating ‘opportunities’ has inspired them to cause her distress.

The creators should acknowledge they haven’t identified a new privacy threat and close the site down before this type of incident is repeated. Their message (written and implied) has done harm now.

Source: Twitpic from Twitter user @jess3 via @payamd

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