Sascha Segan tells us about an overwrought app for Android phones called "iSafe", a GPS-driven tracker for the paranoid that alerts its users when they're in a high-crime area or motoring through a neighborhood that harbors a sex offender.
A "sex offender," of course, can be anyone from some idiot teenager who took porno shots of herself for her boyfriend to a housebound elderly man who did despicable things in 1966. But if you're driving past Ms. Accidental Porn Star's house, iSafe will blurt out "You are in a sex offender neighborhood!" and you'll resolve never to let the kids out into the yard again. By giving no additional details, iSafe increases the fear. At least on Web sites like familywatchdog.us, I found out that the guy who lives half a mile from me was convicted once, ten years ago, of assaulting an adult, and probably isn't a serial child molester. Even those sites, of course, don't give the full story. The full story, sadly, usually involves violence against a family member or someone already known to the assailant, not violence against a stranger. By not supplying details, iSafe invites you to falsely imagine the worst: marauding killers prowling the streets.Just terrible. I'm fine with the app being available, of course, but I agree with Segan that this sort of thinking only breeds unproductive fear. Humorously, all of New York City, one of the safest places per-capita in the nation, is listed as "unsafe for personal crime". Opinion: Android App iSafe is Bad For America [Appscout.com]