Re: Location in the news

I do think it's a bit misguided to blame the API. You could just as easily
provide a map and say "where are you?" - or, as FourSquare does, let you
search from a list of places to choose from. Does the API make it a bit
easier? Yes, but blaming the API for misuse is about the same as blaming
fertilizer for use in a bomb. It's certainly legitimate to ask how we
protect users privacy and protect children from unwittingly exposing
themselves to harm, but given that

a) there's really no good way (in the US) to distinguish children online
b) you can still easily give up your location details w/o this API

it's a bit strange to call it an API problem. E.g. would you actually be
happy with a situation where if you're over 18 foursquare uses geolocation
but if you're under 18 it makes you choose your location from a map? Would
that really make a material difference? I would suspect not, and for the
same reason believe that focusing on the geolocation API is looking in the
wrong place for a solution.


On Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM, John Carr <> wrote:

> In my paper to the W3C seminar I said I knew of no location application
> that is nominally available to anyone under the age of 18.
> Foursquare accepts people who are 13 and above. I stand corrected.
> I just tried to join Foursquare as an 11 year old and it helpfully reminded
> me that 13 was the minimum age. Straight away I tried to join as a 12 year
> old, using exactly the same details as before. I got the same helpful
> reminder. Finally I got in as a 13 year old. From beginning to end the three
> attempts took me about 90 seconds.
> Shall I hunt around for more example or maybe someone on this list already
> knows of other location apps that observe the same age limit (or some other
> sub-18 limit) and employ the same high standards of security to enforce
> them? Not.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Carr []
> Sent: 23 July 2010 20:18
> To: 'Marcos Caceres'; ''
> Cc: ''; 'David Rogers'; 'Karl Dubost'
> Subject: Location in the news
> Favourite bit:
> "Technologically, it's not a huge step, but, socially, it is huge. The big
> moral questions are being left to the app developers to answer at the
> moment. This is irresponsible. Users are being socially engineered into
> allowing this level of privacy invasion through the over-hyping of the
> benefits."

Received on Friday, 23 July 2010 23:12:06 UTC