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Response Blog #1: Please Rob Me.com!? | March 9, 2010

http://pleaserobme.com/

 Yes, you read the title correctly. There is a website entitled and dedicated to the request to be burgled.  Last Saturday, while working at the Phillips Collection a co-worker and I were discussing the frequent trivial use of social media. Overhearing our conversation, a visitor to the museum told us that many people unwittingly open themselves to the possibility of being robed by telling everyone on facebook, foursquare, google buzz and/or twitter when they leave their house. She then mentioned pleaserobme.com, a site that assist in the broadcast of this location-sharing information. My initial reaction to hearing this was that of disbelief (shut the front door). The visitor challenged me to checkout the site. I just went to the site (2 minutes ago) and it is there. A criminal’s research site. A felony space and opportunity database. I was thinking why would someone create such a site? What would there be to gain from such an enterprise? Wouldn’t the creators be an accessory to any criminal activity generated from the information provided by the site? Why would the creators of the site open themselves to legal action and innocent (and not well aware) people to harm? Isn’t there a law against this? Isn’t there someway to regulate or discourage this type of platform? After reading the site and understanding that the creators of Please Rob Me.com, were making a statement about the dangers of exposing every details of ones life on the internet. They wanted people to see first-hand how easy it is to make yourself a target. In week four we posted blogs about a Social Media Bill of Rights. Many of my classmates thought that a Social Media Bill of Rights was not necessary. But explicit in the Social Media Bill of Rights is a clause that states “control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others…” While I understand that pleaserodbme.com is trying to tell cautionary tales about location-sharing, I don’t think people that use location-sharing channels want their information on a site called pleaserobme.com. The Social Media Bill of Rights also discussed “freedom to grant access to their personal information to trusted external sites.” I can type with much confidence that no one wants to twitter their location, to have it aggregated to a site titled pleaserobme.com.

 The issue at hand then becomes: Is your physical location personal information? After all these individuals are willingly and freely posting their every move to a worldwide platform.

 I am not sure that either party (location-sharing usurers or pleaserobme.com) is being smart about their activity. You can teach people that a gun is dangerous without playing Russian Roulette.


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