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Microsoft Crime Patents Idle

Microsoft Patents Bad Neighborhood Detection 317

PolygamousRanchKid writes with these lines culled from InformationWeek: "With the grant of their US Patent #8090532 Microsoft may be attempting to corner the market on GPS systems for use by pedestrians, or they may have opened a fertile ground for discrimination lawsuits. ... Described as a patent on pedestrian route production, the patent describes a two-way system of building navigation devices targeted at people who are not in vehicles, but still require the use of such a device to most efficiently route to their destination. ... For example, the user inputs their destination and any constraints or requirements they might have, such as a wheelchair accessible route, types of terrain they are willing to cross, the option of public transportation, and a way point such as the nearest Starbucks on the route. Any previously configured preferences are also considered, such as avoiding neighborhoods that exceed a certain threshold of violent crime statistics (hence the description of this as the 'avoid bad neighborhoods' patent), fastest route, most scenic, etc." Having lived in some high-crime neighborhoods, the actual feature (versus the patent) sounds like a great idea to me.
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Microsoft Patents Bad Neighborhood Detection

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  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @01:28PM (#38630346)
    We all know there'll be lawsuits with people complaining that Bing Maps is avoiding minority neighborhoods.

    People have tried that for years with pizza delivery services. We had a large map on the wall, with several areas blocked off. If you live in that pizza for you. The store simply says "We don't deliver to that neighborhood." Discrimination, racism, lawsuit ensues.
    If you're aware of any lawsuits that have been successful, I'd like to hear about them.
  • Re:Very subjective (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bfandreas ( 603438 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @02:59PM (#38630938)
    Yeah, places can change a lot between day and night. And simply assuming you will be mugged because you are in what's supposed to be a rotten neighbourhood will make you ooze fear and contempt.

    I have a similar story only slightly more idiotic.
    A colleage and I had a had a 6 months gig in Derby. Since Nottingham is only a stone throw away we decided to have a night-out in this astonishing but also slightly infamous city. Now, I wouldn't call my colleage street-smart. So there we were. At 10pm in some dark inner city alley in Notts sometimes November. And we were a bit lost.So he unfolds right then and there, I kid you not, a street plan. In the dark alley. 10 metres away from two shady figures hanging out in a dark doorway. As I inched away from my colleague fully prepared to leg it and leave him to his Darwin award they started to saunter towards us.
    -Hey there, mate!
    -Goot evenink(My colleage had a very thick German accent. The thing is, Germans are not as popular in England as you might think. Shocking, I know...)
    -You lost? That's where I took over. Survival instincts, I guess.
    -Actually yes. There's supposed to be a place that has live music at this hour but we can't quite locate it. *shows the name that I had written down*
    -Yep, I know it. It's a cool place.
    -Say, you lot look bored. Come with us. My treat.
    -Ok.By the way, mate, unfolding a map like you just did is not very clever.

    Turned out they too had watched the latest episode of Top Gear and we prepared a list of preopsterous complaints the BBC would get for JC driving that Range Rover up that hill. Bullshit bingo British. The complaints turned out to be even beyond our wits having been sharpend by multiple pints of bitter.
    Easy as that. They could also have been 'orrible muggers and I swear to god, I was prepared to run as hell. Might have had to if we had mentioned that we quite liked Derby and wanted to see how the other half lives.

    Don't do anything idiotic.Be relaxed but watchful. Bring a mate and make sure you get a head start in case you have to leg it. As my dad used to say: Son, If you go on a journey, don't bring anything you aren't prepared to lose.
  • by stdarg ( 456557 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @03:23PM (#38631138)

    I wonder if any cities have been sued for not putting up warning signs for these areas. It's really no different than not putting up a "caution - wet floor" sign in a supermarket. The city knows certain areas are bad, and they have a duty to let people know.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?