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mobile stalking

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Imagine this: you’ve had a pretty brutal break-up, and the last thing you want is to run into your ex on the street or at a party of a mutual friend. Now you can look them up using your mobile phone and a little help from GPS technology, to make sure they’re not around. US-based company Loopt offers just such a service, using GPS to help users find their friends’ mobile phones, allowing them to zoom into a map to find out where their friends are. Cool idea, huh?

But maybe not. What if, while you’re trying to avoid your ex and a potentially nasty scene, your ex is using the same service to hunt you down to beg forgiveness in the most embarrassing way, or worse, become violent! What about your parents finding out you’re not actually sleeping over at a friend’s place, but at some party on the other side of town? What about stalkers?

I’m a big fan of personal privacy, and knowing that “Big Brother” (not the crappy reality tv show) can tap into my calls and read my emails (though why would they want to?) gives me chills. Handing over this kind of technology to the world takes it to a whole new level.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “mobile stalking

  1. I constantly wonder what the world is coming to with the seemingly endless limits of technology. Having GPS locators for the ease of emergency services I can see the benefits of – it could potentially save someone’s life. But simply for the ‘wouldn’t it be cool?’ factor seems a little extreme. It seems to me that if you’re waiting for a friend to turn up and they appear to be running a little late, wouldn’t it be just as easy to call them? Isn’t that why we have mobile phones – to call people? Or here’s an old fashioned though – what about waiting a little longer? Perhaps am I just resistant to change…
    It is a huge privacy issue, and there is always the risk it will be misused. I know a number of people who have been in manipulative relationships where mobile phones and an ability to make contact 24hrs a day has wrecked havoc. With a GPS locator, not only would they be able to call them seventeen times an hour but they would be able to track them down!
    ‘Peace of mind for parents’ is an interesting claim. While it might work, it could also backfire. If adolescents don’t think that their parents trust them to make their own decisions this certainly isn’t going to help in fostering healthy and open relationships. In fact it may cause them to rebel harder. And what are they going to do when they find their child is not where they are supposed to be, drive over and drag them home?
    I don’t even want to think about the safety concerns that this concept raises…scary stuff…

  2. Well, if you get rid of your mobile phone than it won’t be a problem! I didn’t get a mobile until lip – didn’t want to miss phone calls from journalists wanting to do a story on lip (not that I got too many of those – but I could have!). Once I move to Melbourne, I probably won’t carry around a mobile phone regularly anymore. It’s actually not necessary – not socially, but possibly for freelance gigs and job callbacks and such.

    In general the technology versus privacy issue interests me because I’m curious to see what a world would be like where everyone just kind of knows what everyone else is doing. You know, it could be quite liberating… But then, I’m not big into privacy. I’m not doing anything wrong or illegal so I don’t see why I need to hide anything.

  3. I had an ex who text me and called me everyday after we broke up… FOR A YEAR!!!
    I was stressed out enough worrying that he was gonna turn up on my doorstep or something or at my work without these new mobile phone companies giving people like him ideas on stalking! Him being on the phone was bad enough how would I know that he wouldnt be turning up when im out with my friends or with another guy with the aid of this new technology! I think it’s pretty creepy if Im honest and just a new way of helping the strange people of this world harrass others. What about kids being bullied do you think they will be thinking wow what a great idea now the bullies can find me anywhere?! I dont think so…Put the marketing out there mobile companies and see how many people use it! I reckon not too many!

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