Please Rob Me: Using Your Foursquare to Give Thieves the Green Light

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We’ve been meaning to mention Please Rob Me, the site that aggregates publicly available, geolocated Twitter messages of the “I am at X bar” variety, as passed on by Google Buzz and Foursquare, uses them to determine who is and isn’t at their homes, and passes on all of the empty house “opportunities” that are ripe for the robbing.

Well: Please Rob Me exists, and it is scary.

From the Please Rob Me About page:

Services like Foursquare allow you to fulfill some primeval urge to colonize the planet. A part of that is letting everyone know you own that specific spot. You get to tell where you are and if you’re there first, it’s yours. O, and of course there’s badges…

The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.

Interesting legal question: if a tech-savvy robber actually like the grizzled, dollar bag-toting fellow in the site’s logo actually used Please Rob Me to rob someone, could the site be held liable for aggregating the publicly available information in such a easy-to-use and pointed way?

Either way, the purpose of the Please Rob Me experiment is clear, and creepy.

Gawker, Mashable, and CNET’s Caroline McCarthy all have great writeups that you should read from an undisclosed location.


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