Update: Yes, even six years later. Sophie from Comparitech let me know that pleaserobme.com seems now defunct and that in fact the site has some malicious looking links on it. See my new coding blog for more info or check Comparitech’s article on how to stay anonymous on the web.
Yes, you got that right. Of course the whole thing is a bit satirical, but it actually shows a big issue with location-aware applications. I’m talking about pleaserobme.com. It’s basically a service that let’s you check where people are at the moment and where they live.
I was recently pointed (again) to this site and even though it is older and seems not to have evolved much, the issue is still important, especially with location-aware applications becoming more and more popular.
At the moment you need to enter a twitter name and if that person also uses foursquare, you get information (I assume). In lack of any twitter names (I do not twitter) I couldn’t try it out myself, but you get the idea. You can probably also just use foursquare yourself and simply check for place owners around you and their twitter accounts.
The point they make is pretty good: Be careful when sharing your location online. Oh, and if you do, don’t bother leaving the lights on to scare off potential burglars… 🙂
The reason why I also put this into Research and Aachen Horror is that this might be an interesting concept. Game-wise, we basically could do something like this for the players (not really robbing them of course, but using location data to make them feel “haunted” or something). As for general research, I think it might be worthwhile to further extend the concept and do some studies on reliability, spread the word of the problem, etc.