Article in Fast Company Magazine by Sarah Kessler

An article on another android application (that has for some reason been deleted from the Google Play Store since publication) appeared today in Fast Company. I have contacted the publisher regarding my tiny complaint that I was not given enough time (only about 24 hours) to respond to their request for comment, because I certainly would have. (It is Fast Company Magazine after all, and they are indeed faster than I, for sure. So no big deal.)

So, since it was written about, here are a few impressions the article may leave that I would like to modulate a little bit. I was never personally concerned with the “Gunfree Geo Marker” app that had been online for two years or so. First, I found it a little flattering. Second, I found it very interesting for a number of other reasons, and in fact have a paper on this topic “in press”, (ie that should be published soon.) Something often misread in past reporting on the Gun Geo Marker is that it is somehow anti-second amendment. Quite to the contrary it is a pro second amendment project, one that hopes to help us avoid gun related tragedies and encourage responsible gun use so as to preserve respect for the second amendment. It isn’t very much in terms of its usefulness as a tool, but it does have some small usefulness, and that is all we have, at least until such time as the congress is able to pass some reasonable and effective laws such as a universal background check.

The Gunfree Geo Marker on Google Play page on Feb 7th 2014, 2014

The following text is from the Gunfree Geo Marker Google Play page:

Hey gun owners, are you tired of being in fear of having your home, or work place marked on a map for the world to see just because you own a firearm? Are you tired of being treated worse than a child molester because you exercise your 2nd Amendment right? ... Well here is an app for you. This interactive map allows you to map gun free locations to include work places, schools and private residences. You will be able to annotate such information such as if there are any valuable items located inside, alarm systems, cctv systems, etc. Plus you can add additional information like how many children live at the residence, the best avenue of approach without being seen and much more.
(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.secondamendment.gunfreegeomarker, accessed Feb 7th 2014.)

 

There is also a key difference between the Gun Geo Marker and its strange other that further separates them. Gun Geo Marker is not and never was a doxing app, as in, an app for sharing people’s addresses or personal information. The Gunfree Geo Marker apparently was (or became with updates… apparently featuring my home address in particular. See the article.) Gun Geo Marker is a crowd sourcing/information sharing app that lets neighbors communicate anonymously, and it has a number of features intended to limit its geographic and temporal scope to balance privacy concerns that ensures a “locals only” usefulness. There is a lot of balancing between privacy concerns and legitimate community concerns that are baked into the Gun Geo Marker. I think Gun Geo Marker gets the balance as close to correct and responsible as can be done with such an app. Gun Geo Marker can’t easily be used to harass and intimidate, at least nowhere nearly as easily as say Facebook or Yelp! (But look around the internet and you will find a number of interesting, deeply paranoid fantasies about GGM.) In any case, you can read up about all of these features on the gungeomarker.org web site.

Bottom line: A good article Sarah Kessler, Fast Company Magazine, March 27th 2015.

DO GUN OWNERS NEED AN APP TO TELL THEM WHERE ANTI-GUN-VIOLENCE ACTIVISTS LIVE?

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Statement Regarding Gun Geo Marker Mark 1 App

From the University of California, San Diego:

Statement Regarding Gun Geo Marker Mark 1 App Developed by UC San Diego Professor Brett Stalbaum

Like all great public research universities, UC San Diego is home to a diverse faculty with a wide range of interests and points of view. On occasion, the research or creative works developed by faculty may be quite controversial. This is especially true when a creative work takes on complex issues where the public has strong opinions. We understand and acknowledge that, at times, the public may not agree with an individual’s views or tactics. However, the university is built upon the principle of academic freedom for faculty members to direct their areas of creativity and inquiry. As a platform for innovative thought that may challenge the status quo, the university does not take positions on the political implications of its researchers’ work.
University of California policies protect the academic freedom of our faculty within the confines of the law and the Faculty Code of Conduct. The University does not endorse or support the violation of any law or University policy, and we take seriously our role as a public trust. When issues arise, we conduct a prompt review of all allegations of violations of law. Each campus of the University provides training regarding responsibilities of our employees, and has established processes by which complaints regarding allegations of misuse or illegal activity are reviewed to ensure adherence to state and federal law.