August 23, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The introduction of something called Facebook “Places” this week should have everyone just a little bit concerned about where, exactly, this technological world is taking us. As I understand it, users of iPhones can use Places to let people know where they are by “checking in” when they arrive at, say, Moe’s for a beer. Other Places users see you’re there and, voila! Your posse is in place.
How I would have loved this back in my analog high school days, when missing a key phone call on a Friday night could leave me high and dry — something today’s cell-phone wielding teens cannot remotely imagine. Now, Places takes that info-overload a step further, and one can certainly imagine its appeal for the most socially inclined among us.
Of course, there’s a vast potential for misuse of this technology. You could be set upon by annoying advertisers, old boyfriends, that guy you all just ditched or, horror of horrors: your parents, who pop by the party house since they were “in the area.” Extend those scenarios and you have the ex who’s under a restraining order popping up at the restaurant, the stalker you’ve been trying to evade showing up at the mall or the IRS tracking your spending patterns. That’s why privacy groups like the ACLU have already started weighing in on the dangers of Places, and why we’re likely to hear a lot about all this in the weeks and months to come.