Yes, but most likely unintentional and the fault of the iPhone OS, not the developer of the app, called Sex Offender Search, which notifies you of sex offenders near your geolocation.
This fail does highlight, though, the potential for geolocational apps to cause all kinds of shenanigans.
For example, a Swedish company has created an app called Recognizr that can analyze the face of any stranger on the street and deliver to your iPhone that stranger’s name and social networking presence, if any. (Sounds like a must-have tool for any tech-savvy stalker trolling for victims, doesn’t it?)
But I keep the dystopian thoughts at bay by remembering something I read in David Foster Wallace’s brilliant novel “Infinite Jest” (pg. 150):
“[T]here’s some sort of revealing lesson here in the beyond-short-term viability-curve of advances in consumer technology…. First there’s some sort of terrific, sci-fi-like advance in consumer tech… which advance always, however, has some unforeseen disadvantages for the consumer; and then the market-niches created by those disadvantages… are ingeniously filled via sheer entrepreneurial verve; and yet the very advantages of these ingenious disadvantage-compensations seem all too often to undercut the original high-tech advance, resulting in consumer-recidivism and curve-closure and massive shirt-loss for precipitant investors.”
DFW was referring there to the (imagined) rise and fall of videophones, which went thus:
- Everyone jumps on the videophone bandwagon.
- Consumers quickly find the use of videophones emotionally exhausting and stressful because: a.) Callers on the other end now know when they’re doodling, filing their nails, channel surfing, etc., instead of giving callers their full and undivided attention; and b.) They can no longer take a call without worrying about how they look and the unflattering nature of videophone cameras.
- In response, entrepreneurs develop masks and scenic backdrops, then full-body suits, then full-fledged surrogates to plop down in front of the videophone, all of which become increasingly expensive and ridiculous and so-not-worth-it.
- Everyone ditches their videophones and goes back to the voice-only version.