Oh, Those Evil Online Maps

from the whatever-shall-we-do? dept

At what point will people realize that technology is just a tool, and it can be used for both good purposes and bad purposes? Every time people realize that a tool might be used for bad purposes they seem to freak out. The latest is that people are worried that online mapping services might be used by stalkers to find out where you live. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to find out where someone lives, but because mapping tools and phone books are available online for free, people are freaked out. While the vast majority of users use these tools for perfectly legitimate reasons, there are always going to be some people who use them for nefarious purposes. That doesn’t mean that we should ban the technology, but teach people about it so they understand what can be done.

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Comments on “Oh, Those Evil Online Maps”

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itchyfish says:

Lowered Barriers

I really think what online mapping has done is lowered the barrier for entry into stalkerdom.

For example, perhaps you’re in line at the grocery store, and you’ve forgotten your all important “club card”. Since most of these systems track you by phone number, the cashier simply asks you for your digits. You comply, thinking nothing of it. However, unbeknownst to you, the person behind you is looking for a sacrifice for tonight’s midnight ritual, and has decided on you. Simply remembering your phone number, and then entering it into a reverse lookup site gives our sociopath everything they want to know about you. Name, address, phone number, additional lines, and a handy map to your place. He gets links to send you flowers, get your credit report, or perform a background check on you. Or if he’s a technically inclined sociopath, enter them immediately into the wireless PDA for instant gratification.

In the “good old days”, this sort of operation might take quite a bit of time and effort to accomplish, which prevented a lot of idiots from doing the sorts of things idiots do. Now days, it takes a WHOLE LOT less time to get a WHOLE LOT more return information with a WHOLE LOT less input information. That’s the scary part.

It really is scary. I refuse to just give out ANY information about myself anymore. And they wonder why identity theft is rising by leaps and bounds.

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