[Air-L] Where Are You?

Anders Sundnes Løvlie a.s.lovlie at media.uio.no
Thu Dec 20 01:57:02 PST 2007

The location-based service her.no (Norwegian 'her' = here) is currently 
advertising online with an animation of a close-dancing couple, and the 
tagline: "Is your partner cheating on you?" Using their buddy-finder 
service you can discover if, for instance, your partner is on the same 
location as your best friend, when they both told you they'd be 
somewhere else.

The service requires consent from the owners of the cell phones, so of 
course the partner could refuse to be localized - but that might in 
itself require an explanation.

Of course another use of this service is for worried parents to watch 
where their children are going. I've been told similar services are 
gaining popularity in the US and Japan.

It would be interesting to see if this kind of service made people leave 
their phones at home more often... or start being more honest to each 
other? I guess it is more likely that the service gets hacked, or that 
the whole idea will flop. ;)

But there is an interesting dynamic, which I guess is common to most 
surveillance technology: The availability of the technoloy itself makes 
it hard to say no. Because if you have nothing to hide, there is no 
problem, right?

Anders Sundnes Løvlie
Research fellow
Department of Media and Communication
University of Oslo
(+47) 40 45 04 85
a.s.lovlie at media.uio.no

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