For the last few weeks there's been all this talk about some site called PleaseRobMe that uses Twitter's API to post the Tweets of people (mainly using location "check-in" service Foursquare) announcing that they're "not home." The site claims it's just "raising awareness" of the potential hazards of announcing your location -- though, plenty of people have pointed out that a more effective way of seeing that someone is not home is watching them leave in the morning. But this sort of moral panic over location information is not new. Consumerist
points us to a fun post at Waxy that highlights two similar stories from decades past
. First, there's the fear from 1983 that answering machines would alert people
to the fact you weren't home (as if just not answering the phone wouldn't?). The second is from 1977, and suggests people not publish funeral or wedding announcements
in the newspaper, since that alerts potential burglars that you'll be out as well.
The thing is, if a burglar wants to find out if you're out, there are lots of ways to do that, outside of modern technology. Fearing that this is one more way to do so doesn't seem particularly productive.