A recently released iPhone app allows its users to rate the safety of certain neighborhoods, thereby allowing others to see which areas of town are dangerous, or “ghettos”, according to the app makers. The backlash was so great that within 24 hours of launching, the developer renamed the app “Good part of town”. Behind the name change, the implications remain the same.
From the Huffington Post:
“I can’t be held responsible for the assumptions people may make in regards to factors like race and income,” the letter to Gawker continued. “I’ve seen comments on blogs and in twitter that are trying to say this is encouraging racism or social stratification and that was never our intention.”
But critics have pointed out the app’s adverse effects on the community, regardless of the app’s intentions.
“It’s pretty detrimental to society when we reinforce the idea that poor or crime-heavy areas are places to be categorically avoided or shamed,” David Holmes wrote on PandoDaily. “As if to assume that every person who lives in an area with comparatively high crime or poverty is a criminal, or that these areas are devoid of culture or positivity.”
I’d be curious to see in a couple of month’s time if the app takes off. Do people really want this kind of information? More specifically: are smart phone users the kind of target audience for this kind of app?
Any thoughts or comments?