Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Online mapping higlights/lowlights

So I'm the one who spends a large percentage of her time thinking about online tools. But every once in a while, a website really sticks out.

Vision 20/20: is a website that mostly sells you GPS tools to track your children's movements (you can set an alarm to call you when your child roams "out of bounds" or outside the neighborhood):
“...without it there is no way that I would have known that my
daughter was on her way to the beach after hours.”

So, pretty creepy to begin with, sure, but their new free service takes it just one step further. A tool to map where people who have been convicted of sexual assault live. Then, once you do a search, you can call up individual mug shot/criminal record/address. I understand that all of this information is, in fact, public, but making criminal records immediately available and having your criminal record follow you for the rest of your life seems extreme to me. I understand the thinking behind it (protect your kids by scanning your neighbors for criminal records), and I don't support sexual assault, but it seems like we lose something important in a society where every past action becomes visible. And these things always start with the crimes related to sex (scarlet letter to now), because we're quicker to judge. Maybe I should start looking for some google map mash up of white collar crime?

I guess it boils down to: Which do I find more disturbing--the fact that this tool exists, or the fact the I tried it and was a little wowed by the beauty and sophistication of their maps?

Thanks for freaking me out, techcrunch.

No comments: