In the age of social media and information technology, people are finding new ways to use the technological resources around them to tackle problems that would have been nearly unsolvable ten years ago. This week, when New York Times technology columnist David Pogue lost his iPhone on a train, he decided to use the power of internet to see if he could get it back.
Pogue started with an iPhone app that could pinpoint the location of a lost phone on a map. The app showed that the phone had made its way to a suburb of Washington, D.C. in Maryland; quite a distance from Pogue's home in Connecticut.
He then tweeted out the location of the phone to his 1.4 million Twitter followers and issued a challenge for someone to find it. Some of his followers who lived in the area shied away from going to the house on the map because the neighborhood was seen as dangerous. However, one of Pogue's followers happened to be a local policeman who offered to look in the house.
After some searching, the policeman discovered the phone laying in the grass in backyard of the house. He was able to retrieve it and send it back to Pogue, saving him hundreds of dollars in phone replacement costs.
While this incident showcases the ability of technology to do good in the world, it also raises the question of what this technology could be used for in the wrong hands. In this video, Pogue and NewsHour Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan discuss the phone rescue and what it means for privacy in the modern world.
"It was like some kind of NASA-FBI satellite spy operation, because he was looking in Maryland in the house where it was on the map, but he couldn't hear the pinging." - David Pogue, The New York Times.
1. What does it mean to "ping" a device?
2. Have you ever lost a cell phone? Did you get it back? If so, how?
1. Do you think there are legitimate privacy concerns with technology that can potentially track where you are? Why or why not?
2. What are some other ways in which social media has been used to mobilize people to act in the real world?
3. What does this incident say about online communities of strangers?
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