Frank Groeneveld, a computer science student in the Netherlands, was fast asleep not long ago when a burglar tried to enter his home.
Groeneveld, 22, managed to scare off the intruder but was left wondering: What if I wasn't home?
Groeneveld returned to the idea recently when he found himself inundated by status updates on Twitter from users broadcasting their location. In most cases, they were inadvertently advertising the fact that their home was likely unattended and vulnerable to a burglary.
It led him and two friends to launch a Web site this week provocatively called PleaseRobMe.com, a mashup of users' content from Twitter, the San Francisco microblogging service, and FourSquare, a site in which users share their location.
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 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."
Complete article : PleaseRobMe.com posts when you're not at home Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, February 18, 2010
More information on this: