We've all seen it. You're scrolling through Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr when you see some varation on the same status message: Poopin'. Ewwwwww. TMI. Is that for real? Nope. It's a prank, and an increasingly common one.
Here's how it works. Someone leaves their smartphone lying around, sans passcode lock, and some other joker pics it up and sends out an update to whatever services the phone is logged into.
It's become so popular that there is a charity that bears its name (to raise money for clean drinking water and community sanitation projects), and there is even a semi-official Poopin' Rules site. The rules make for a pretty good policy, actually. The first one, especially:
Acts of Poopin' aggression must be inflicted via a mobile device. Computers are off-limits.
And that's the heart of it. This is a game for mobile devices that speaks to something larger than just the bogus update itself. Let me explain.
If you know me, you know I will poopin' you. I poopin' my friends at every opportunity. And I have been poopin'ed myself, via my iPad which I stupidly left sitting out without a passcode lock at a party. But more often, I'm the pooper than the poopee.
Does that make me a jerk? Well. No. Sometimes it angers people. But the thing is, whether they realise it or not, when you screw with someone's mobile device in a harmless, if embarrassing, fashion you are doing them a favour.
Poopin' is an object lesson. Better that I or some other prankster teaches you the value of using a passcode than you learn it by having your data, or money, or very identity stolen.
Our phones store an exceptional amount of personal data. (More than we realise, quite often, as the recent Apple location data dustup showed). And location data is really small potatoes if someone gets your phone and it isn't passcode locked. If I've got your unsecured phone I've also got very many of your logins. I may have access to your paypal or bank account.
And then there's email. If I have your phone, I can read your emails and your private notes and learn what's in your dark little heart. Worse I can search your email for vital personal information like the social security number that's in the tax return your accountant emailed you.
So the next time someone poopin's you, thank them. And lock your phone.