By now you've heard about a Web site called PleaseRobMe.com. This site is re-posting people's messages, and uses a location-sharing technology to post where you are when you're not at home. The sites motivation is to teach people they are putting themselves at risk.
I'm not a fan. There are better ways to teach and raise awareness.
I had a chance to appear on the CBS Early Show to discuss this site and its impact on personal security. Prior to doing the show I Tweeted, as I always do, to make my contacts aware of the show. What did I Tweet?
"I'm on the CBS Early Show at 7:40am discussing PleaseRobMe.com politely suggesting violence. My home is alarmed & my German Shep will bite you!" I figured it was appropriate due to the nature of the segment I was about to do.
Robbery is "Larceny using threats or violence". Or as PleaseRobMe may say, please take from me and hurt me in the process. This isn't tongue and cheek, it borders on "inciting violence." And that day may come.
For years I've been barking about personal security as it relates to social media and the risks involved. I've written numerous times about how social media requires a risk vs. reward assessment. Plain and simple, putting all your life's details in one place makes it easy for the bad guy to gather intelligence about you.
While I believe the site has the right intentions to bring awareness to the issue, and they've certainly made an impact, the site is irresponsible and unethical. It's entirely inappropriate for them to shine a big bright light on people and say "Please Rob Me". Because some whacko just may do it. Then what? Do the sites operators then say "I told you so" If they have a lawyer, he's probably getting ready to buy a new home from all the money they will have to pay him.
Follow Robert Siciliano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertSiciliano