Location Based Sinisters

I’m¬†a long time fan of Location Based Services and it’s pretty hard to keep the faith – a bit like supporting a long struggling sports team, who despite occasional flashes of promise, consistently disappoint. And when¬†an LBS service is launched, they’re often used for something dark and despicable like employee geofencing¬†or services that I’m afraid just don’t deliver, like child tracking. (Before you write to me and say they do, please read the post I’ve linked to and respond with that in mind. A child tracking service tracks the phone, not the kid and it’s the phone that gets dumped if, horror of horrors, the child gets abducted.)

Here’s another story that displays mankind’s dark side and works in an LBS twist. Apparently, second hand car dealers and finance houses specialising in high risk loans are equipping cars with GPS. No, it’s not so their customers can find them to keep up with their loans. But to link¬†them up with ignition killing devices, which are activated when the poor bozo falls behind with his payments. Then, the re-possessor can track them down using GPS, get the vehicle back and sell it to the next sucker.

Apparently, car repossessions in the US currently run at about 2% and if you factor out the middle market and above, it would suggest that it’s many times higher among the poorer community. And that’s a pretty large addressable market, so I guess we’ll see a lot more of these sorts of ideas.

A little depressing really, but it makes one appreciate the more wholesome LBS ideas like friend trackers, although even these have the potential to be abused, with jealous spouses tracking each other round the clock.

Anyone heard of a honest-to-goodness nice LBS application?

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