Another use in 3….2..1….

A new app which allows people to track their friends’ journeys home has won support from the Home Office to help protect women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.

The app, which is being trialled by police, provides any woman or man walking home at night with a route on their phone that is monitored every 10 seconds for any significant deviation that could indicate they are in trouble.

If they stray more than 40 metres from the route or stop for over three minutes, the app asks if they are okay. If there is no reply, then “guardians” – who have been nominated in advance and are drawn from friends and family – receive a notification on their phones to say there has been a deviation.

Stalkers, jealous husbands (and wives), fathers of teenage daughters, controlling folk of all types will be installing this ins 3…2..1…

Why is it that people find it so hard to grasp that surveillance works both ways?

15 thoughts on “Another use in 3….2..1….”

  1. “I just stepped into a front garden to have a piss, and suddenly there was this police helicopter…”

  2. And the fun bit is that it offers no “safety” whatshowever to begin with.
    “Gone in 60 seconds” is not just a movie title..

  3. For a one in a million event, we’ll produce a useless piece of software that will generate thousands of false reports?

    Have we gone totally mad?

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    I don’t see what the big deal is. I had an app on my phone that I entered my journey in with ETA. If I didn’t tell it I’d arrived it sent an email and text message to a nominated list of friends. It was developed for single handed sailors.

    There’s no reason why I couldn’t use it on land.

  5. Erm, apps like this already exist.
    One of the most popular is called Life360
    You can set up a group and see where all the members are.

  6. I suppose this one (if the trial is successful, or maybe if it isn’t) will be the Official app, and will likely be subsidized etc.

  7. JuliaM,

    This was the basis for the NHS Covid-tracking app and subsequent “ping-demic”.

    In government, when something doesn’t work you just double-down and try harder.

  8. BiND,

    Indeed. None of this is something the government needs to be involved in. I have a dog tracker from Vodafone that costs me £3/month. At any point I can get told the location of the dog. It also alerts me if the dog goes outside the local zone. And a lot of that £3 is paying for the sim card, which this friend tracking app doesn’t need.

    None of this is that hard to design. The app needs to have a way to set up a route (call Google Maps API). Then you click to start your journey. The app then pings locations back to a server. The server checks the routes are OK and if not, they notify your friends. Couple of months of developer work and you’d have it built. Then you’d need about £50K/month to run it (the biggest cost would be the 24/7 support).

    And almost certainly, the Home Office will pick a bad supplier (I can’t read the Telegraph piece). Some monumental tosspots who are employing barely proficient developers who will build a ropey solution that won’t stay up. And then, they’ll add a lot of rubbish to it because of Home Office demands.

  9. @BoM4
    Just disable JS on the no-longer-very-Torygraph site and their paywall evaporates. It would be quite understandable if you still don’t want to read the piece, though.

  10. A small point

    Who keeps the location data?

    How much data is held and for how long?

    When is the data purged?

    Who has control of the data and who has control of access to that data?

    This is why I dont use Faceache – this app is far worse#

    FFS is you are worried get a taxi from a reputable firm, arrange a lift, text a friend or just dont go out and get pissed

  11. Millennials: Facebook owes me $0.000000045 for every post I create, because they sell that data to advertisers.

    Also Millennials: Anyone with my phone number can track my location? So progressive! The future is now!

  12. Nothing new, cars have had emergency detection for ages and even my watch has an emergency alert function so if I’m doing an activity, say running or cycling and it detects an event it will message a list of contacts and I’m sure there’s plenty of other versions. I even have a satellite tracker for solo hiking and camping as 15 mins in the right direction can put me outside cell service.
    Hopefully the 40m deviation means that someone at least understands there are issues around gps tracking especially with a device stuck in a bag or pocket and even more so in built up urban areas, let alone that map apps may well miss shortcuts like cutting across an open area instead of following the L shaped path

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