Please Rob Me? New Web Site Shows People’s Whereabouts


A new Web site provocatively called is a mashup of users’ content from Twitter and FourSquare, a site in which users share their location, says the San Francisco Chronicle. While little more than a gag, PleaseRobMe raises serious questions about the potential ills associated with publicizing information online, particularly a user’s whereabouts. “We’re not trying to get people robbed, but helping them not to get robbed,” said site co-founder Frank Groeneveld. “We’re just presenting this information in a more obvious way. And that’s our point: Everyone can see this on Twitter.”

PleaseRobMe reformats the information that users make public on FourSquare to read like an alert to a would-be burglar, stating that a user “left home and checked in 12 minutes ago,” followed by the user’s update: “I’m at San Francisco International Airport.” With the rise of location-sharing tools like New York’s FourSquare and Brightkite of Burlingame, Ca., the updates have evolved from what’s on your mind to where you are. “PleaseRobMe does a fairly good job of reminding people that when you put that information out there, you don’t know who’s following you and paying attention to where you are,” said Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It opens you up to physical attacks.”

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