Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sniff sniff

This is sort of creepy. The London Times reports on a new Facebook/mobile phone application that gives people an electronic map showing the location of their friends. Called Sniff, for Social Network Integrated Friend Finder, it works by having the registered phone send a signal to nearby base stations. Then "positioning software performs a triangulation calculation on the information from the base stations and converts it into a geographical location." Just like on Without a Trace!

Although in the article Useful Networks, the American company behind Sniff, swears that only people who give active permission could be electronically tracked by the service, I remain unconvinced. Parents with power over their children, partners with abusive relationships, can all use this technology to stalk or harass. I am especially concerned about teens in unhealthy relationships all too easily succumbing to this.

On a lighter note, this sentence cracks me up: "Users can specify who can and can not sniff them, or whether they are open to be sniffed by anyone on the network."

Sounds like a good day at the park for my dog.

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