Mobile consumers are giving two Washington, D.C., developers the side-eye for creating an app to help people avoid “sketchy” areas.
Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington thought they were doing a good thing when they created SketchFactor, a mobile app which lets users rate areas based on how safe they perceive it to be. It would allow users to report potentially dangerous incidents as they come across them.
The problem here is that SketchFactor is based on completely subjective criteria. Since SketchFactor was created by two white people, it’s getting lots of backlash with criticism that the app is racist, which Allison and Daniel deny. “We understand that people will see this issue,” Ms. McGuire said in an interview with Crain’s. “And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we’re concerned, racial profiling is ‘sketchy’ and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets.”
It’s certainly possible for the app to reflect prejudiced reporting in any given area, but this would be more of a reflection on the users than the actual creators.
Besides, the idea behind SketchFactor is not a new concept. TechDirt.com reports that back in 2008, Honda had installed GPS systems into certain models of its vehicles that would let drivers know when they were in a “bad neighborhood.” The modification was first tested in the Japanese market, and bad areas were defined by high crime rate and how likely it was that a car would be stolen or vandalized in a given neighborhood.
In 2012, Microsoft came under fire for creating a GPS patent that would alert pedestrians to dangerous areas, bad weather and tough terrain. When asking for directions, the proposed app would take walkers on the safest path through neighborhoods with lower crime rates.
These aren’t bad ideas on their own, but they were framed rather poorly, and people do love to find a reason to be outraged. The truth of the matter is that SketchFactor could be a helpful app (who wouldn’t want to know what areas to avoid on the way home?), but consumers may now be less likely to use it because of the great potential it has to define the safety of a given neighborhood by its racial makeup.
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"