The Scam Potential of Presence Messages


David Weinberger as ever hits nail upon head with dose of humor, but his point to me opens the gates to all sorts of thoughts, some of them Web 2.0ish:

Often, on the back of a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is a ‘Make Up My Room Now’ message of some sort. But, now matter how they phrase it, isn’t it the same as an “I’m Out, So This Would Be a Good to Rob Me, Especially If You Are Squeamish about Violence” sign?

My question is this: When will Web 2.0 presence tools start to create the same informational hazard? Whether it’s twitter, saying you’ve nipped out for coffee, or dopplr, saying you’re planning an overseas trip, at what point do scammers decide this information is useful to them? Or are they already doing so? I’ve long considered automatic Outlook away messages to be dangerous, but I wonder at what point do the scamsters start to pick up on the usefulness of this presence, or rather absence messages.

P.S. I’m off out for a coffee.

Joho the Blog » The opposite of Do Not Disturb

Photo credit: ores2k

News: Now You Can Keep A Tag On Your ‘Loved Ones’

 Now you can monitor the whereabouts of anyone using a mobile phone, at least in the UK. Scary, or what? MapAmobile offers a service which can locate someone via their mobile phone, anywhere in the UK, notify you when they move from that location, 24 hours a day. The privacy element: mapAmobile, which is touting the service as a way to reassure yourself about where your loved ones are, needs the permission of the person you wish to locate and sends them regular text reminders that they’re being monitored.
My question: Isn’t this false comfort? Just because you know where the phone is, doesn’t mean you know where your loved one is, or whether they’re safe. They may have been kidnapped, had their handphone stolen, or just left it in the car. I can’t help feeling this kind of thing has more to do with bosses keeping an eye on employees (who would be smart enough to ditch their mobile in a drawer and then head out shopping). And if this has nothing to do with snooping, why is the ‘o’ in the logo a target?