Anders Sundnes Løvlie’s blog about locative media, computer games and electronic text


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The Norwegian location-based service her.no (English: here.now) is currently advertising online with an animation of a close-dancing couple, and the headline: “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?

Perhaps there is another possibility: I just learned of a Telenor study (yes, once again in Norway) which tried to answer the age-old question: How many phone conversations start with the three small words: “Where are you?” (It’s amazing what you can do with a government research grant, no? :))

Ok, so the study only looked at text messages. But interestingly, only 1,4% contained the big question. So maybe people won’t be that eager to pry on each other after all?

Written by Anders Sundnes Løvlie

Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 11:05

Posted in Locative media

Tagged with ,

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