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posted by LaminatorX on Monday April 28 2014, @09:07AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the If-you-are-reading-this-message... dept.

Natalie Matthews writes that a year ago, a friend of hers left her two roommates at a bar to walk the three blocks home to their apartment in a yuppie Boston neighborhood. "She wanted decent sleep before a Saturday morning exercise class; her friends wanted late night food. Instead, she was jumped by a stranger on the curb of her apartment building, brutally raped, and beaten in her living room while her roommates ate burritos, none the wiser," writes Matthews. " If she'd done something, anything, differently, would it have changed the outcome of her night? It's an unproductive exercise, both she and I know. And yet when I heard about Kitestring, she was the first thought that flashed in my mind, because maybe Kitestring would have helped her, had it existed then."

Kitestring is a new service that aims to make sure people get from point A to point B safely, notifying their emergency contacts if they don't. You tell Kitestring that you're in a dangerous place or situation, and give it a time frame of when to check in on you. If you don't reply back when it checks your status, it'll alert your emergency contacts with a custom message you set up. "Perfect for blind or online meet-up dates, walking home at night, or feeling safe in any dangerous situation, Kitestring is like the virtual mom I've always needed," writes Mary Rockcastle, "especially if your mom is like mine and is never awake past 8:30pm."

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RobotMonster on Monday April 28 2014, @09:19AM

    by RobotMonster (130) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:19AM (#37075) Journal

    If you don't reply back when it checks your status, it'll alert your emergency contacts

    Neat idea, but wouldn't this be more effective if it sent the alert when you failed to check-in, instead of sending you an "are you okay?" ?
    I can see a kidnapper, for example, with possession of your phone, simply replying back that all is well when your virtual mom messages you ((or forces you to do so).
    I presume their intent was to prevent false emergencies from people who forget to check in, but it does seem a weakness in the system.
    If the reply needs a password (but doesn't look like a password request), then I guess that works too..

    Nothing to see here, move along. Everything's fine.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by RobotMonster on Monday April 28 2014, @09:23AM

      by RobotMonster (130) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:23AM (#37077) Journal

      Answering my own question, from the Kitestring FAQ [kitestring.io]:

      Can an attacker check in on my behalf?

      You can set a secret "check-in word" that is required for checking in. We strongly recommend that you do this. For extra safety, pick a new check-in word for every trip (so that it’s not in your texting history).

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Monday April 28 2014, @11:14AM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Monday April 28 2014, @11:14AM (#37104)

        They should probably add a "duress keyword" that disables the visible alarm and notifies police, contacts, etc, for when a person is forced to turn it off.

        • (Score: 2) by gringer on Monday April 28 2014, @01:29PM

          by gringer (962) on Monday April 28 2014, @01:29PM (#37144)

          I guess you didn't read the FAQ that was recently linked:

          I'm in trouble. Is there a quick way to alert my contacts?

          As an added measure of safety, you can set a secret “duress code†for discreetly alerting your emergency contacts. Kitestring will pretend as though you have simply ended your trip. We strongly recommend that you set a duress code.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 28 2014, @02:47PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 28 2014, @02:47PM (#37183)

          ^ Yes. Because obviously if you're being raped, you need another excuse for your attacker to beat you until you tell him the password. (obligatory xkcd $5 wrench reference)

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @01:18AM

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Jerry Smith on Monday April 28 2014, @09:19AM

    by Jerry Smith (379) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:19AM (#37076) Journal

    Ftom tfa: "and give it a time frame of when to check in on you. If you don't reply back when it checks your status, it'll alert your emergency contacts with a custom message you set up."

    Assuming there is coverage, the rape lasts longer than 10 minutes, the contacts respond IMMEDIATELY (and are not assuming you stopped at an night shop because you remembered you ran out of soy milk and eggs) and the assailant does not know about the app (don't forget: 60-80% of the rapists KNOW the victim). How about someone walks you home? Or reconsider the decision to go out late in the evening when you know you need to be up earlier in the morning? False security? How about a gun?

    --
    All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
    • (Score: 1) by Jerry Smith on Monday April 28 2014, @09:43AM

      by Jerry Smith (379) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:43AM (#37083) Journal

      Yes, disagreement equals troll. Slashdot all over again.

      --
      All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:11AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:11AM (#37092)

        I'm not the person who modded you down (but posting anon because I DO have mod points).

        I saw your first message and considered downmodding it myself. I'm not sure I would have marked it "troll" but I can see why the other modder did - SN has no option for "-1 unintelligible".

        Your first post made no sense at all, it was composed of unrelated sentence fragments that completely failed to make any kind of point.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:30AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:30AM (#37094)

          Yeah I guess I shouldn't have read the article.

      • (Score: 1) by http on Monday April 28 2014, @12:28PM

        by http (1920) on Monday April 28 2014, @12:28PM (#37126)

        Hardly.

        Your comment presents specious arguments in a plausible way but completely without the redeeming trait of humour - thus it meets the canonical definition of troll (not the modern useage, "abrasive or offensive.")

        --
        I browse at -1 when I have mod points. It's unsettling.
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 28 2014, @02:51PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 28 2014, @02:51PM (#37185)

      Just never leave someone out alone. Ever. If nobody wants to stay with them, find another group of people you know and relatively trust and leave the person with them if you can. Is a little inconvenience really worth the risk?

      That being said, I went to college in a dinky little town where I feel like I could probably walk across town alone in the dead of night and still be safe, but then again I'm a white male.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Monday April 28 2014, @08:42PM

        by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @08:42PM (#37384) Journal

        Just never leave someone out alone. Ever.

        I'll never leave someone who asks me not to, or who I consider to be vulnerable and incapable of realizing it (e.g. due to drunkenness).

        But otherwise, I applaud anyone who doesn't let fear of crime adversely affect their behaviour. We can't surrender our public spaces like that. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. In a couple of decades will your advice be that a group of 2 people is too small?

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday April 28 2014, @09:09PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:09PM (#37395)

          The base assumption was that this was out for a night of drinks, yes.

          Feel free to go out alone in a bad neighborhood to make an idealistic statement, but don't encourage your friends to do so. Then when they "take a mile" it'll only be your ass (literally) on the line.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DIMT on Monday April 28 2014, @09:24AM

    by DIMT (2043) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:24AM (#37079)

    I very much doubt any of your emergency contacts will actually pay attention whenever you have forgotten to disable the panic mode for the fourth time in a month. Even if they do pay attention it won't make a difference if there is an actual threat toward you, you can be raped, beaten, and murdered before the police arrive, assuming the perpetrator is at all efficient with their time, even if someone was to call the police immediately in most areas. This kind of product will just perpetuate the idea that rapists are in every alley just waiting for somebody to walk by while simultaneously giving a false sense of security to those who actually may need to watch their step.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jimshatt on Monday April 28 2014, @09:59AM

      by jimshatt (978) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:59AM (#37089) Journal

      This kind of product will just perpetuate the idea that rapists are in every alley just waiting for somebody to walk by

      I don't think it does. It works against all kinds of rapists and other threats. But you do raise some valid points. False alarms are probably a problem, and will make people numb (just like Amber Alert and every software alert you have to click on 20 times a day). And even if it works and your friends respond fast, it would probably still be too late in many cases.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Monday April 28 2014, @10:44AM

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @10:44AM (#37099) Homepage Journal

      I think it will depend on the person. If someone uses it responsibly, and avoids false alarms, it could be a good thing in certain circumstances. I don't think any reasonable person would switch this on for a 3-block walk home, but if you're off on a blind date, or doing something else unusual.

      That said, the old saying about the police will apply here as well: "When seconds count, help is only minutes away". This may help reduce risk in certain situations, but nothing can eliminate it (and we wouldn't want to live in such a world either).

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Angry Jesus on Monday April 28 2014, @11:33AM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday April 28 2014, @11:33AM (#37108)

      > This kind of product will just perpetuate the idea that rapists are in every alley just waiting for somebody to walk by

      Not necessarily. If it kept stats and reminded the user of how many times they used it and had no problems it could have the reverse effect. People don't remember situations that go off without any problems, so a way to remind them just how safe there life is could go a long ways towards changing the perception of danger around very corner.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday April 28 2014, @12:02PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @12:02PM (#37112)

      "I very much doubt any of your emergency contacts will actually pay attention whenever you have forgotten to disable the panic mode for the fourth time in a month."

      I can think of two "off label" uses for the app that would be vaguely useful for my family.

      One is my mom can use it on a semi-regular basis and if she falls and breaks her hip, then we can get in touch. And it appears the absolute worst case failure mode is (oh noes!) you call your mom and nothing is wrong. Not exactly the end of the world, assuming your relationship is alright.

      The second use is my incredibly reckless tendency to occasionally use (real) power tools alone. So in 20 minutes I've either chainsawed that tree stump or I've removed my leg accidentally. I wouldn't fire this app up every time I pick up a screwdriver, only a few times a year when I do something stupid (like the above, or climb antenna tower to do a minor adjustment while alone, etc) The net effect of the app is I'd probably be more likely to do something stupid while alone thus death or injury is more likely, which is probably not what the app maker intended.

  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by tftp on Monday April 28 2014, @09:49AM

    by tftp (806) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:49AM (#37085) Homepage

    This whole idea meekly accepts that crime is here to stay, that you may become a victim, and if you want your body found faster than usual then use our service. This is not productive because it treats symptoms. Even worse, it may create the false feeling of safety "because I signed up for an app on my phone." People who walk in the street at 1am are just smart enough to think that a phone app will save them from an attacker.

    Many robberies last less than a minute. A murder is instantaneous. Theft is not even noticed until much later. I don't know how long a rape may last, but probably ten minutes will be enough for an average rapist. But even if someone is alerted, where are they going to look for you if the attacker disabled your phone, or threw you into some basement where there is no signal? Does anyone expect the whole police force to mobilize and start combing the city because some teenager was supposed to call but never called? Phones can become lost, damaged, discharged; teenagers can be forgetful, distracted, sleepy, drunken, outside of coverage, or simply in love. There are millions of valid reasons why someone said that she will call but never called. Nothing will be done except an all points bulletin ten hours later.

    The best way to deal with such crimes is to prevent them, or to fight and defeat the attacker. It is sad that night streets of US cities are just as dangerous as streets of Kabul. However politicians are not willing to implement death sentence for each and every violent crime. As result, violent crimes are plentiful because the criminals are not afraid. At the same time many victims are unable to resist. A firearm and a good self-defense training would be handy; but excessively liberal people, who are afraid of guns in their own hands (but not in hands of criminals!) may buy a stun gun instead. In practice, however, too many people are not paranoid enough. They believe that they are sane if they think that nobody is after them. That is true only if indeed nobody wishes them harm. Unfortunately, a large city has plenty of people who would gladly harm you if they are given half a chance. If the politicians do not protect you, you have only two options: you can protect yourself, or you can accept being a victim. If you cannot do the former and do not accept the latter, run from that city and don't look back.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Monday April 28 2014, @10:59AM

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @10:59AM (#37102) Homepage Journal

      I like your comment right up to the last paragraph: "politicians are not willing to implement death sentence...violent crimes are plentiful because the criminals are not afraid." Criminals are not going to be any more afraid, even if you give jaywalking a death sentence. Criminals don't expect to get caught.

      The answer isn't tough laws - the laws are already tough, and there are too many of them. "Three felonies a day", and that's law-abiding citizens. Prosecutors in the USA already have more than enough "pile on" crimes to put anyone they want in jail for as along as they want.

      Your answer of self-defense is the right one: everyone should know some basics of self-defense, and should be prepared to use it. A gun, for people who want to go that way, otherwise martial arts or whatever. Heck, just run away screaming. It doesn't matter, because it's about mentality, about *not* doing what the criminal wants.

      This is particularly important for women. I remember being taught: if someone demands your money, just give it to them. I now think that this is wrong. If you say "yes" once, you'll say it again: "Give me your purse", "come quietly", "go in here", "shut up and I won't hurt you". Don't even start down the path of cooperation...

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by dcollins on Monday April 28 2014, @07:36PM

        by dcollins (1168) on Monday April 28 2014, @07:36PM (#37363) Homepage

        Re: Non-cooperation, the bright line drawn in the defense class that I went to was: stuff yes, people no. Give them your money or car or whatever, but when they want you to go with them to another location all hell breaks loose. To me that seems like a pretty memorable distinction.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Monday April 28 2014, @11:21AM

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday April 28 2014, @11:21AM (#37105) Homepage

      It is sad that night streets of US cities are just as dangerous as streets of Kabul.

      Or, if that is even true, it's great that the streets of Kabul are as safe as US cities.

      However politicians are not willing to implement death sentence for each and every violent crime.

      Yes, because a) in the West people largely believe in reasonable and just punishment for a crime and b) the jury is still out, if you'll forgive the metaphor, on whether the death penalty makes any difference. Rapists gonna rape.

      excessively liberal people, who are afraid of guns in their own hands (but not in hands of criminals!)

      Say "pussies" if you mean pussies.

      Why would an "excessive liberal" not be afraid of criminals getting hold of guns?

      In practice, however, too many people are not paranoid enough.

      That's okay; it sounds you're bringing the average back up.

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday April 28 2014, @04:07PM

      by tathra (3367) on Monday April 28 2014, @04:07PM (#37253)

      This is not productive because it treats symptoms. ... However politicians are not willing to implement death sentence for each and every violent crime.

      the death sentence is also just treating symptoms, which as you said, is not productive. violent crimes are plentiful (and they really arent) because society is broken.

      • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday April 28 2014, @09:07PM

        by tftp (806) on Monday April 28 2014, @09:07PM (#37393) Homepage

        the death sentence is also just treating symptoms, which as you said, is not productive. violent crimes are plentiful (and they really arent) because society is broken.

        There is more than one cause of crime. A broken society is one such cause; however crime existed in all known societies, even in those that are not broken. Humans themselves are responsible for greed, lust, jealousy, and so on. Most are able to control those feelings. Some are not. Removal from the society is an effective way of reducing the number of criminals; perhaps one cannot hope to scare all criminals into obedience, but at least recidivism will be set to zero.

        Barring that, what else can be done? Catch and release does not work. Slap on the wrist does not work. The society *is* broken, and that makes things worse because too many people are committing crimes. Even if we disregard made-up charges, still too many people are antisocial. They grew up in atmosphere of permissiveness and widespread disregard for the law. The lawmen were burning that candle from the other end, by painting themselves as jackbooted thugs with itchy trigger fingers. I understand that this is not the ideal situation. But what is the plan?

        • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday April 28 2014, @10:17PM

          by tathra (3367) on Monday April 28 2014, @10:17PM (#37415)

          But what is the plan?

          i'm in no position to do anything to fix anything, so i have no real reason to do serious research into it, but a basic income [wikipedia.org], implemented with/as something like the nordic model [wikipedia.org] or rhine model [wikipedia.org] should remove all poverty-driven crime. there will always be psychopaths and sociopaths, but society would be significantly less broken if its primary economic system didnt reward those behaviors.

          if you reward selfishness and greed, or worse yet make it practically essential to survival like we have now, it shouldnt be a surprise that nobody is interested in fixing anything except their own personal situation.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tftp on Monday April 28 2014, @11:21PM

            by tftp (806) on Monday April 28 2014, @11:21PM (#37437) Homepage

            a basic income, implemented with/as something like the nordic model or rhine model should remove all poverty-driven crime

            An unconditional basic income (also called basic income, basic income guarantee, universal basic income, universal demogrant,[1] or citizen’s income) is a proposed system[2] of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution

            Quoting Vysotsky [youtube.com], "Где деньги, Зин?" (Where would the money come from?)

            It is, of course, a great idea to give everyone enough money to live so well that nobody feels a need to take something from someone else. But the government has only the tax money to work with. Does that mean that one worker has to feed ten idle people? What motivation would that worker have to continue to work? This is exactly the situation that was present in USSR from, say, 1960 and until the end. Everyone was paid more or less the same, no matter how well you work (уравниловка.) This resulted in best workers slowing down, as they were not idiots to break their backs while others are drinking tea and solving puzzles in newspapers. There were bonuses for better work, but they were not worth the advantage of relaxing at work instead of working hard.

            I understand also that you are right about greed; it is not good. However it is the only known way to make people do what, on average, advances the society. It's because a man won't lift a finger unless it is beneficial to him. If you want to change the society you have to start right here. It is not too rare to find people who are willing to help others; the whole F/OSS movement is an example. But I haven't seen any ditch diggers who, in their free time, volunteer to dig ditches for their neighbors. Only highly intellectual, satisfying labor is done for free - because it rewards the author with pleasure of creation. Ditches reward no one.

            There is yet another problem with your train of thought. Human history does not know a man, be it a peasant or a King of Kings, who ever said "I have enough." It is never enough. As long as Bob has something that Alice doesn't have, she wants it. Humans would have to be downgraded to the level of always-content robots to eliminate that trait. But if the trait remains, it leads to competition - and it is not always done with better, harder work. How would two men compete for one woman? By singing a better song? Domestic violence represents a significant portion of all crimes, and that is because humans are inherently violent, and not always rational.

            This, essentially, leads to one simple question: what portion of all crimes is caused by poverty? Say, a man who has five children and no income to buy food decides, out of despreation, to steal a loaf of bread from 7-11. But hold on, this doesn't happen in the USA, does it? Anyone who can't feed his children will be on social security already. Then who is robbing convenience stores, and why? The answer is quite different: they are robbed by willfully unemployed people because they want free money. What has basic income to do with *this* problem? Are you carjacked because the carjacker needs to drive his son to a hospital?

            As I said above, the root of the problem is simply in human nature. Humans have evolved a curious set of priorities. They want to get as much as possible by doing as little as possible. This leads to the tragedy of commons, and to everything that follows. The crime is just an inevitable echo of that original flaw; criminals believe (often correctly) that they can gain a lot by doing very little by the way of robbing people and stealing their belongings.

            But there is yet another aspect of human nature: desire to control others. Not everyone has this trait, but those who do form the ranks of leaders, dictators, and sadists. Nearly all violent crime is done by such people. They enjoy having power over their victims. They cannot be paid enough to give up that feeling. The "knock-out game" violence is exactly this thing; it can be practiced only by sociopatic, sadistic individuals. There are many of those. In part, they are formed by the society - but in the other part this desire is built into humans. Humans are born predators; today we call them criminals. But a teenager who holds up a convenience store is simply a good hunter. That is the problem.

            • (Score: 2) by tathra on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:31AM

              by tathra (3367) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:31AM (#37481)

              What motivation would that worker have to continue to work? This is exactly the situation that was present in USSR from, say, 1960 and until the end. Everyone was paid more or less the same, no matter how well you work.

              you clearly didnt even attempt to skim the links to see what i was proposing, because thats nothing like a basic income. a basic income only provides enough for food; the motivation to work is to have more than the bare minimum.

              and there's a lot of people who say, "i have enough"; something like 500 million to 1 billion people, often known as "buddhists". beyond that, there's an uncountable number of people who are content with having just enough to be comfortable.

              you seem to be saying, "it'll never work, so there's no point in even trying". why ask for potential solutions if you wouldnt ever consider them because you dont think they'd ever work? thats starting with a conclusion and working backwards, which is the kind of thing we see from geocentists, creationists, and often from conservatives in general. even if it doesnt work perfectly, it'd still be far better than our current situation; ensuring everybody has enough to survive would be far cheaper than what goes to for-profit prisons every year (between $24,000 - $200,000 each year per prisoner, totaling over $60 billion annually according to wikipedia, which doesnt include the economic cost of having those people removed from the workforce); similarly, its far cheaper to ensure that everyone has healthcare than to foot the bill for the inevitable ER visits like we currently do.

              its not possible to come up with a solution that will fix everything perfectly all at once, but that doesnt mean it isnt worth trying. the only real way to address problems is one at a time. so lets fix one thing we know for a fact drives people to crime - poverty (which also drives revolutions if it gets too bad) - at a fraction of the cost we're paying to keep those same people incarcerated, and then move on to the next problem, if its known and its possible to do something about it. besides, why wouldnt you want to be sure that your fellow citizens arent starving to death? what kind of sick sociopath are you? ;)

              even if it doesnt work out, it would provide lots of valuable data that could be used to refine the program or come up with a better one. doing nothing is the worst possible thing we can do.

              • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tftp on Tuesday April 29 2014, @03:45AM

                by tftp (806) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @03:45AM (#37504) Homepage

                I have a second-hand knowledge of the Nordic model, as I work with a few Swedes who escaped Sweden just in time. I heard many horror stories from them, but if hearsay is not good enough, then here is something [wordpress.com] from a well known writer [wikipedia.org]. Since then taxes in excess of 100% have been cancelled; but still Sweden has taxes above 50%. In other words, each working Swede toils for half a day to feed someone else who, most likely, does not work. This would be at least understandable if those people are ill; but that is not the case.

                This is why I started my reply with the most basic question: where the money is coming from? Bureaucrats do not create wealth; only the working man can do that. The few working people cannot feed the rest; nor they are happy to do so. The Rhine capitalism tries to sit on two chairs at once - to allow free enterprise, and at the same time tax that enterprise in order to feed those who do not work. Both models are based on spending someone else's money. They do not increase the wealth of the society. At best they can keep it constant, but in practice they lower it because older workers, with their own understanding of responsibility, retire and die, and younger people - who are invariably focused on anything else but work - are in no hurry to step into the shoes of their parents. (People like them were the OWS movement - "anything but work.") The problem of those systems is that they do not create sufficiently strong motivation for hard work. As you point out, many say "The social assistance is enough." But you cannot grow the society this way. At some point the number of eaters exceeds the number of feeders. The USA is facing the Social Security crisis [alternet.org] already; it is delayed only by printing of money and borrowing from abroad.

                You mention Buddhists. Sure, those may be less demanding. But they do not matter as long as other people on Earth are interested in unlimited consumption. If "the good people" do not interfere, they might just as well not exist, as they do not change the equation.

                you seem to be saying, "it'll never work, so there's no point in even trying"

                Then I'm lucky that I never said that. What I did is I simply spelled out some of the natural reasons why humans do what they do. It's possible to change humanity; as a simplest example, all people with undesirable traits should be exiled or killed. It will result in evolutionary pressure to be more peaceful, less demanding, more honest, etc. (I do not propose this approach; this is only to show that it can be done.)

                ensuring everybody has enough to survive would be far cheaper than what goes to for-profit prisons every year (between $24,000 - $200,000 each year per prisoner, totaling over $60 billion annually according to wikipedia, which doesnt include the economic cost of having those people removed from the workforce)

                Yes, but you are arguing something that we never discussed. I am not in favor of the prison industry. I agree that we do not need so many prisons and so many laws. We do not need militarized police. I think what we need instead is a swift and severe punishment for a few simple crimes. The punishment must be sufficient to ensure that the convicted person will not want to break the law ever again. (The prison industry facilitates recidivism.) At the same time, if the convict survives the punishment, he should have all his rights restored, and ideally his crime should be forgotten. Debts to the society should be paid only once.

                similarly, its far cheaper to ensure that everyone has healthcare than to foot the bill for the inevitable ER visits like we currently do.

                Healthcare in the West is very expensive. If "everyone" has healthcare then that "everyone" has to buy Obamacare plans for $5,000/yr per person that are nearly useless. But your wish is reality today, with Obamacare. Everyone has access to healthcare, even if they don't have access to healthy food anymore. Is this a solution?

                so lets fix one thing we know for a fact drives people to crime - poverty (which also drives revolutions if it gets too bad)

                I agree that it is wise to fix things one at a time; however, as I demonstrated, there is hardly any evidence that financial poverty is responsible for a significant part of crimes. I would rather say that spiritual poverty is the culprit. Not in a religious sense, of course. But what difference is there between two teenagers who find a chick on the ground that fell from the nest, if one picks up the bird and puts it back into the nest, and another intentionally and cruelly steps onto it? That's the difference that matters. This is what is responsible for crimes. Poverty is not a deciding factor; poverty was widespread for most of human existence, but the percentage of crime and criminals was approximately the same at all times.

                I want to reiterate that I do not oppose the idea of a society where everyone is fed and clothed. Perhaps one day robots will do that for us. However focusing on it today could be explained only by one reason: this is the only thing governments know how to do - to collect taxes and divide them. They do not know how to grow a newborn into a solid professional instead of a gangbanger. It's too hard; one has to fix the society in many ways before traditional, full families are restored, honored and cherished for their role in growing the new generation. It's much easier to pick an easier, or shinier, target - and it's much more interesting to collect money on behalf of someone else who will never ask for a financial report.

                If you fix the family, if you fix the society, poverty will disappear on its own, simply because it would be shameful to be poor. And if we approach the problem from another end, dropping cash from helicopters will not eliminate poverty because poverty is primarily a state of mind. You mentioned Buddhists. A Buddhist who owns only his robe can tell you "I have all that I need." A typical Westerner could own a billion dollar business, and he'd be still working to expand it. We'd be fine with Buddhists. But what to do with the rest of the planet?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:44AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:44AM (#38331)

              It is precisely because many people want more than what is subsistenly enough that many people would still work in a guaranteed minimum income society. The problem in the Soviet Union was not establishing a mimimum income, it was establishing a maximum income. People didn't slack off because others' needs were met, but because their own wants weren't meant. Read Milton Friedman on the subject of Negative Income Tax.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by gringer on Monday April 28 2014, @10:08AM

    by gringer (962) on Monday April 28 2014, @10:08AM (#37091)

    A three block walk back to your home is unlikely to be considered a dangerous excursion, so no need to activate kitestring. I'm not convinced people would have enough foresight to know when they're going to be in a dangerous situation 10 minutes from now.

    At least there's a custom check-in word option that stops attackers from correctly responding, and a custom duress word option so a "type in the right word" command doesn't work.

    • (Score: 2) by ls671 on Monday April 28 2014, @10:25AM

      by ls671 (891) on Monday April 28 2014, @10:25AM (#37093) Homepage

      So you end up with something similar to a watchdog in IT. Report every 5 minutes or an alarm is raised to sysadmin ;-)

      --
      Everything I write is lies, read between the lines.
      • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Monday April 28 2014, @10:42AM

        by jimshatt (978) on Monday April 28 2014, @10:42AM (#37097) Journal
        Modern-day chastity belt: Run a wire through a belt with a current and a tiny transmitter (transponder, RFID, something like that). You need to authorize with an app every time you are to open the belt (possibly 2-step remote authorization including significant owner (pun intended)). Yes, it's a bit of a hassle, but we want security, right?
        • (Score: 2) by tathra on Monday April 28 2014, @04:16PM

          by tathra (3367) on Monday April 28 2014, @04:16PM (#37256)

          no, that would be terrible. all fathers would have that on their daughters until they left for college*, and many cheating and/or possessive husbands/boyfriends would keep those on their wives/girlfriends. it'd just be another way to terrorize women.

          * fathers are hypocrites since nearly all of them were fine when they were out screwing other people's daughters at age 14+.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Monday April 28 2014, @11:25AM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday April 28 2014, @11:25AM (#37106)

      I'm not convinced people would have enough foresight to know when they're going to be in a dangerous situation 10 minutes from now.

      Also, the user is very likely to misjudge when they are really at risk: For women, the highest risk of rape is when she's alone with a man, particularly on a first date, and the person who is by far the most likely to murder her is a husband, boyfriend, or ex. There are many women who would be safer out on the streets at night than in their own homes - that's not to say that street crime doesn't happen or is insignificant, but domestic violence is a much bigger problem than most people care to admit.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @10:56AM (#37101)

    This app. would not have helped.

    Note from the summary:

    ... to walk the three blocks home to their apartment in a yuppie Boston neighborhood. ... Instead, she was jumped by a stranger on the curb of her apartment building, brutally raped, and beaten in her living room while her roommates ate burritos, none the wiser," ... You tell Kitestring that you're in a dangerous place or situation, ...

    Very few people would feel paranoid enough being just "three blocks" from their apartment in a "yuppie Boston neighborhood" to even activate the app. No activation of the app., no help from the app.

    • (Score: 1) by number6x on Monday April 28 2014, @12:12PM

      by number6x (903) on Monday April 28 2014, @12:12PM (#37119)

      There are still 'Yuppie' neighborhoods? Were the residents wearing polo shirts with their collars turned up and sporting mullets with highlights?

      Wouldn't yuppies be entering their sixties about now? Yuppies were professionals. They had management jobs and worked 60 to 80 hours a week. When your parents were hippies, that's about how you will turn out, completely driven by career. The Yuppies carried 'beepers' that didn't have apps. If they didn't own a home or a condo, it was because they owned the entire apartment complex.

      Could the author be thinking of 'hipsters'?

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @11:03AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @11:03AM (#37103)
    Hey check this out! It's for you to check in, so if you don't check in you'll be checked on before getting checked out by someone who checked you out.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @12:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @12:04PM (#37116)

      kitestring - check

      regards,

      Sergei Czechnovski

  • (Score: 2, Troll) by VLM on Monday April 28 2014, @12:13PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 28 2014, @12:13PM (#37121)

    "in a yuppie Boston neighborhood ... was jumped by a stranger on the curb of her apartment building, brutally raped, and beaten in her living room"

    The folks with arrows in their backs are the pioneers. Being a gentrification pioneer has its inherent risks, and there's no real point in feeling bad about adults that volunteered. If you insist on risky behavior choices, the absence of a security blanket app is not the cause of your problems.

    I hear this a lot with co workers trying to live the urban experience lifestyle. "Oh I'd never want the suburb life experience, life in the burbs is just terrible, so soul-less" Usually a lot of meaningless blabber (see: soulless) which translates to they're too cheap or they're repeating stuff they heard from stupid friends. Eventually, they get the "real" inevitable urban lifestyle experience and its all boo hoo, woe is me, however could that have happened, it must all be someone elses fault that happened to me. I'm nice enough not to say "I told you so" but hopefully they figure it out themselves and learn something. Some do, some don't.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @09:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28 2014, @09:50PM (#37407)

      "You deserve to be robbed/raped/murdered for moving into the wrong neighborhood."

      I believe I speak for everyone here when I say:

      Fuck you.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by emg on Monday April 28 2014, @04:39PM

    by emg (3464) on Monday April 28 2014, @04:39PM (#37266)

    No smartphone app beats a loaded gun in the purse.

    • (Score: 1) by andersjm on Monday April 28 2014, @06:08PM

      by andersjm (3931) on Monday April 28 2014, @06:08PM (#37314)

      The assailant will notice you trying to retrieve the gun from the purse, and strike first, or take the gun from you.

      • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday April 28 2014, @10:27PM

        by tftp (806) on Monday April 28 2014, @10:27PM (#37420) Homepage

        The assailant will notice you trying to retrieve the gun from the purse, and strike first, or take the gun from you.

        A gun is not going to be of any help if the attacker peacefully walks by you, and once he is behind he whacks you over the head with a blackjack. A gun is only effective if you follow a whole book of other recommendations, such as "be aware of your surroundings," "maintain distance," "do not be too PC to suspect someone," and so on. It is hard to do in a city where other people are near you all the time. YouTube has a few clips of robberies that are done in a crowd. The time frame where you may be allowed by law to defend yourself is less than a second. Until then the attacker hasn't touched you; after that you are unable to defend yourself, or (if the thief runs away with your stuff) you are not permitted to shoot into his back. Note also that it takes nonzero time to draw a handgun from a holster; a police officer needs about 2 seconds to draw and fire, even though his holster is not concealed. If you keep your gun in a purse you need at least five seconds to prepare. This is possible only if the criminals start their attack a good 20-30 yards away from you. Why would they do such a thing? You'd have to start suspecting them when they are that far away. This is what the training will be about.

        This is why I am so skeptical about safety of large cities. However you put it, criminals have an advantage there. They can jump you from every dark corner; and the population density is so high that it is not feasible to maintain the safe distance. The police is there only to take statements and collect the bodies; many LEOs are honest and would like to help, but they can't be everywhere.