Google CEO Eric Schmidt once famously remarked that his company's goal was to get as close to the creepy line as possible without actually crossing it.
Well, here are two indications that not everyone is staying behind the creepy line:
First up is the aptly named, Creepy. Creepy is a "geolocation aggregator," which is to say that it gathers location data from social networking sites and image hosting services.
Digital image files contain EXIF tags which record the image's date and time stamp information. Some cameras and smart phones can also provide GPS data along with the time stamp. So ... by using Creepy to collect information from Twitter, Flickr and other apps, you can track a subject's movements and create a composite map.
According the Creepy website, "Using Creepy for any illegal or unethical purposes is strictly forbidden and the developer assumes no liability." Even so, this application is a stalker's dream.
This week, we also found out that Apple has been stealthily raising the creepy bar for about a year now. It turns out that their wildly popular iPad has been recording detailed location data as well. To be fair, there is no evidence yet that this information has been transmitted across Apple's networks, but many users found the discovery unnerving at best. In the words of researcher Tim O'Reilly:
It is more symbolic than anything else. It is one more sign of how devices are collecting data about us and potentially sharing it with others. This is the future. We have to figure out how to deal with it.
Good luck with that.