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Communications Wireless Networking Entertainment

Cell Phones Tracking Nightlife Activity 121

Roland Piquepaille writes "A Columbia University computer science professor has co-founded a New York-based company named Sense Networks to sell tracking software to other companies. It is also distributing a free version of this software, named Citysense, which shows on your cell phone where the wild things are happening in your own town. Citysense 'uses advanced machine learning techniques to number crunch vast amounts of data emanating from thousands of cell-phones, GPS-equipped cabs and other data devices to paint live pictures of where people are gathering.' Citysense is available today in San Francisco, before being soon deployed in Chicago and five other U.S. cities."
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Cell Phones Tracking Nightlife Activity

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  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @03:31PM (#23992687) Homepage Journal
    Nerds not invited ;)

    More seriously, it appears that this technology is GPS-only and not all folks have GPS-equipped phones. I don't understand GPS all that well and I'm wondering how this tracking software can locate them, do they have to consent to being tracked, etc. This also has some scary big-brother implications if it were to move past GPS and into standard triangulation of ALL cell phones -- with or without the user's consent(well, kinda -- what percent of average Joe users actually read their EULA/cell contract/etc.), to be used for marketing purposes(or worse).
  • by kaliann ( 1316559 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @03:37PM (#23992737)
    There's a technology that doesn't sound like it could be misused by local or federal government. Freedom of assembly isn't really being infringed if Big bro just sends nice officers to "investigate suspicious activity", right? For everyone's safety, of course. Could be a fire hazard. Or underaged drinking.
  • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <{corbettw} {at} {}> on Sunday June 29, 2008 @03:42PM (#23992775) Journal

    Or terrorists, for that matter.

    That said, I can't see the utility of something like this being all that high. Sure, it'll appeal to the posers who want to be seen in the right places; but the truly cool people don't need a device to tell them where the parties are, and the truly nerdy don't care.

    Come to think of it, the terrorists would be doing us a favor if they bombed the places frequented by those types. Let's turn it on and watch the species evolve ever higher!

  • by spasm ( 79260 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @03:53PM (#23992851) Homepage

    "it'll appeal to the posers who want to be seen in the right places"

    Except it won't even do that - by definition, anywhere where there's thousands of people isn't 'the right place'. Believe me, no hipster would be seen dead in pacbell park during a game or in some mega-nightclub. Posers want to boast about how they were in some tiny artspace with only 100 of the cogniceti(sp?) last night, now how they were in some giant venue that every moron from the burbs had managed to find.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:05PM (#23992941)

    Outside of areas with small populations, who in the demographic looking for nightlife would look for large groups of people to help determine where to go for fun? That's perhaps even dumber than determining the best movie to see based solely on the box office receipts from the weekend before.

  • Not helping at all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:09PM (#23992981) Homepage

    I can already picture sketchy bar owners buying up a ton of these things, to make their spot appear "hot" even though it's dead. After all, the idiotic vodka-redbull sipping bar-hoppers instinctively gravitate to the busiest shitholes, and this "technology" exists solely to capitalize even further on their collective ignorance.

  • by Skreech ( 131543 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @04:28PM (#23993109)

    I'd probably use it to find where people aren't.

  • Improves? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gma i l .com> on Sunday June 29, 2008 @05:04PM (#23993357) Journal

    Not everyone's idea of fun is hanging out at a club. Some people would nearly die of boredom at a nightclub. Just because someone else's idea of fun isn't your idea of fun, doesn't mean they aren't having a good time. I'm sure the folks who like hanging out at clubs would get bored at a frantic LAN FPS game (what without people to hit on/get hit on by, the pointless braindead social banter, and the lack of certain mind-altering substances), or would be scared shitless driving around a track at high speed (being so easily stimulated and all).

    To be honest I don't see how anyone could enjoy themselves clubbing. It's absolutely dull (especially if you hate pop culture) and the cost:fun ratio is abysmal IMO.

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