Why following your stars is about to get a whole lot easier

The celebrity stalking industry can be dated back to the 1950s, when enterprising young bucks on Hollywood Boulevard began selling maps showing the homes of movie stars. Next week, it will take a giant leap forward, with a website that will map not just Hollywood but the entire planet, and not the stars' homes, but the stars themselves.

Justspotted.com, which launches on Tuesday, has been developed in close collaboration with Twitter for two years. It will scan the Twittersphere, Facebook and other social media, for news on the whereabouts of the 7,000 celebrities in its database – be it posted by the celebrity in question or someone who has spotted them in the street – and overlay that information on a map of the world.

It is not the first incarnation of a website of this type. In 2006, the media website Gawker launched Gawker Stalker Maps, a very similar service, prompting the US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to say to the site's editor on live television: "I would hate to see you arriving in hell and somebody sending a text message saying, 'Guess who's here.'"

George Clooney also took issue with Gawker Stalker Maps, circulating an email to celebrity publicists suggesting that they counteract the site by getting people to "flood their website with bogus sightings". Gawker has since discontinued the service.

The new website has already provoked considerable concern.

"It's another step in the direction of Big Brother society," said the celebrity publicist Max Clifford. "And potentially very dangerous. There are a lot of very funny people out there. If they are going to be able to easily know where celebrities are then there is a chance it puts them at risk."

But according to founder and CEO A J Asver, JustSpotted operates by aggregating information that's already publicly available. He claims the "celebrity-friendly" site is about fans making a psychological connection with stars rather than a physical one.

"The information isn't real-time enough for you to run over there and see them," he said – though this may depend on how long said celebrity stays at the same location. Asver hopes the site can be used in conjunction with celebrities, including helping them to promote their movies, television shows, concerts and the products they endorse. Mr Clifford also sees potential for the more fame-hungry figures.

"If you make the distinction between celebrities and stars, yes. Celebrities are desperate for any publicity they can get. I'm sure anyone on Big Brother would love to be on it. And yes, it might mean that people can draw attention to somewhere that they want to be seen – a big store, or fashion show – and then get it in the papers."

The site's relationship with the tabloid media, together with its heat sensor-like tracking ability, also gives PR man Richard Hillgrove cause for concern.

"What happens when some footballer's latest crime turns up on the front of the News of the World, and suddenly there's a website telling you where he is? This site can be used to facilitate a witch-hunt," he said. "You could create vigilantism, that's a very dangerous aspect of it."

Privacy lawyer Rod Dadak of Lewis Silkin predicted that JustSpotted would struggle to survive. "Its existence will most certainly be challenged at an early stage," he said. "If you tweet to the world saying where you are, you can have no expectation of privacy.

"But if someone else tells the world where you are, in a place where you can have a reasonable expectation of privacy, then you have cause to complain. In my view, Justspotted.com will soon be Justgoneoutofbusiness.com."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

    Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

    £65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...

    Ashdown Group: Software Development Project Manager - Kingston Upon Thames

    £55000 - £60000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Experienced Software Dev...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders