“Citizen Big Brother?”

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Robin Hamman at cybersoc.com has joined the beta test of Plazes, a new social networking site that “adds physical presence to the web. The Plazes website automatically detects your location and connects you to people and places nearby. See people in your area, discover other locations and follow the whereabouts of your friends.

So far, so ‘police state’.  Robin describes it as… “a service that tracks your mobile phone and/or the points where you connect to the internet and plots them on a map. You can then add descriptions and images to the new plazes you create so that other users can find them. Another nice bit of functionality is that you can search for Plazes and other users, including your contacts and others who have chosen to make their location visible, within a user determinable distance of 2 or 5 km.

It’s an interesting concept, merging offline with online worlds, but one that I’m still not wholly comfortable with. The UK isthe most scrutinised nation on earth; with 4 million cameras filming everyone – on average – 300 times a day, is there a need to amplify our Orwellian society with rampant web 2.0 narcissism?

I’m all for the expansion of social networks, but I find a system that uses mobile tracking to pin-point your location (albeit with the users’ consent) a little intrusive.

Robin’s going to continue with the beta test and write a fuller report sometime soon. I’ll keep you posted…

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