Apps & SoftwareEditor's Pick

Footprints an App Built on Privacy Wants to Reduce Crime in Uganda

We are frown when asked to share our locations or whereabouts because we mind a lot about our privacy. But the same information could be used by authorities in case you fall victim of theft, kidnap or some other crime(s).

Apps/systems or companies that usually ask for location statuses, claim not to evade user privacy, while some do, some don’t. Thus, people are cautioned a lot when it comes to sharing their personal information. In this article though, we look at an android application Footprints designed for your safety without evading your privacy.

Footprints is built around your safety and most importantly privacy. It lets you share your location regularly (automatically or manually), and notes in form of breadcrumbs of where you are, or where you are going in case you might have trust issues with the means of transport you’re using or the people that are around you.

For instance, if you’re traveling somewhere and be suspicious with the means of transport, you can record the car registration number, driver’s names (if possible) or description, and any other information that could be of use in case you go missing or be a victim of theft. This is done with Footprints breadcrumbs feature.

Breadcrumbs allows you to record clues of where you are or have been, what means of transport you are about to use, the registration number of the vehicle, boarding stage/place, destination, among other. The feature allows you note down any useful information that might be useful to authorities during investigations.

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How is Footprints different from other tracker apps?
With Footprints, you share your location/whereabouts with the people you trust. However, the information shared comes with a timer — in that the person shared the information with won’t be in position to see it until the timer expires. For instance if you share information to your family member and put a timer of 48 hours, it means after the 48 hours, the information you shared with that family member will be visible to them.

The information can as well be deleted if you find it’s no longer relevant. For instance if you got home safe, after you had shared the information, you can still delete from all the recipients you shared with. The added advantage is that the information can be deleted from all recipients (more like the delete feature in WhatsApp).

How does Footprints protect your privacy?
Your privacy is timed. The whole privacy bit is based on timers. Footprints Timeouts lets you decide the visibility period of the information you share. When you choose to share your whereabouts, locations or breadcrumbs, you set a timer that when it expires, it is then visible to the person shared to. The recipients will receive what you have shared but won’t be in position to open/read the information.

The app is trying to play a role in solving the number of crime cases such as kidnap that are gradually happening in the country. People get to use cars, motorcycles that are for organised gang of criminals that later kidnap them to demand ransom.

Therefore, be responsible enough to leave a ‘breadcrumb’ with the Footprints app.

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