back to article Text-to-pee service launched

Finland’s residents now face being caught short during car trips if their phones are out of credit, because the country’s road management agency has introduced an SMS entry system for public toilets. Called the SMS Lock System, users must text “OPEN” to a number shown on the door of various toilets and shower rooms along …

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  1. Register Reader
    Stop

    Uh...

    I can imagine this going down well with the pervy crowd in Finland - wait for a hot chick to go to the loo, text 'open <insert-number-here>', camera at the ready... *snap*

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Years Back-LOG

    Thats going to be fantastic on new years day when the networks are jammed and people need to pee!

  3. Rob Sked
    Alert

    But . . . .

    What if you've been out on the lash, loose your wallet and end up spending the last of your phone credit going for a wee.

    It'll be like that bloke who got locked in the loo for all them days.

  4. A J Stiles
    Dead Vulture

    Sick

    In a civilised country, the mere act of charging money for a biological necessity should be considered a crime against the person.

  5. Unlimited
    Go

    no texting required

    I see some bushes behind the loo in the pic....

  6. Chris C

    Disturbing trend

    While my thinking may seem ironic since I'm in the IT industry, I find the current trend of e-everything very disturbing. Some may even claim that this scheme is discrimination against those who do not have mobile phones (yes, there are some people without, if you can imagine). Not everyone wants to be "connected" 24/7. Should we really punish them for it?

  7. Andy

    Yeah - this'll really work well...

    If you have an anonymous mobile - as I and many others do

  8. Chris
    Thumb Down

    Bad idea

    Never mind charging money for a biological necessity. What about people who don't have cell phones? They could have lost it, they could have one but the battery's dead, or they just don't feel it is worth the monthly charge. Then they pee on the lock or otherwise disable it so the next person can't get in either...

  9. system

    Tourists

    Presumably you have to text the word in finnish.

    Intertran lists all these words: "auki, aava, altis, alttiina, aukea, aukinainen, avoin, avoinna, avomielinen, avonainen, esteetön, julkinen, jäätön, lakea, ratkaisematon, suojaton"

    Good luck getting jäätön into your mobile in a hurry if your mobile doesn't have ä or ö easily available.

  10. Steven Hunter
    Pirate

    Won't reduce vandalism.

    If I want to vandalize one of these toilets, this won't stop me. In fact it would probably make it easier to get away with it. All I do is pinch my friend's phone while he's not looking, text to open, and then trash the place. Return the phone before he notices, and he'll get the blame and I'll get away unpunished.

    Go technology!

  11. Daniel Bennett
    Coat

    Hmmmm

    Pit of a piss take if you ask me.

  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Quiet!

    If ever Gordon Brown hears about it he will make it part of the ID cards.

    I can hear plods arresting the next terror suspect saying: "Let's see where you've been pissing about, mate."

  13. Jason Togneri
    Boffin

    Hum

    Finland is absolutely FULL of trees (and laybys), I can't see this one taking off. That said, Finns are basically honest enough to actually use the damn things...

  14. yeah, right.

    @ A.J. Stiles

    So food and drink should also be free? Might want a reality check.

  15. TS

    Better put a bucket out back

    Frankly I'd rather just pee behind the facility than pay to get in, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    What you are supposed to do

    if you can't use the restroom, and you really can't wait, as near as I can figure is pee yourself since pissing behind a tree will get you put on the sex offenders registry if they catch you. Hard luck I tell ya.

  17. S
    Thumb Down

    But what?

    I'm not sure about the general public, but I have difficulty using my phone when I'm intoxicated.

    I'm also more likely to need the toilet after an evening of drinking.

    So it's likely that I wouldn't be able to text the toilet to get it to open for me...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Hmmm..

    is it just coincidence that this story appears immediately below "More remote workers squatting next door's broadband"

  19. Tim
    Thumb Down

    Hanging about for the text to go through…..

    Have you ever sent a text to someone and the message has not arrived for a couple of hours? Text is not reliable enough for me to trust this.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clean toilets AND shower rooms are worth paying a little for

    RE: Running out of credit \ anonymity

    Pay-As-You-Go is very new in Finland. The vast majority of people have contracts (in a country with a 105% penetration rate). Sure, you could have mobile phone problems, but then again, you could just as well have no change. Public toilets that require payment are not rare, this has long been accepted.

    RE: Presumably you have to text the word in finnish.

    No, you text the word OPEN.

    RE: That said, Finns are basically honest enough to actually use the damn things...

    This is probably true. It is also a country where it is not unfathomable that you could ask somebody to kindly unlock the door for you (texts are inexpensive).

    RE: Text is not reliable enough for me to trust this.

    Maybe Finland has a better telecommunications infrastructure? A fair few services employ this technology with few problems.

    RE: New Years Back-LOG

    These are fairly remote locations near towns with populations of 10 and 25 thousand. The overloading of mobile networks happens quite rarely in Finland. Maybe occasionally at large music festivals, and the situation is constantly improving.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @there are some people without, if you can imagine

    I don't have to imagine, I don't have one. I can see see this appealing to your average no friends facebook user who is so sad that texting a toilet in front of them is probably the nearest thing they are going to get to real face to face communication.

  22. TeeCee Gold badge

    Hanging about......

    Too true, too true.

    Next time someone comes up with a fancy support model involving text alerts, publicly request that the author checks the guaranteed service delivery time for an SMS with the Telcos. Always a great way of getting egg on the face of some smarmy git that one.

    Also one of the reasons that medics still use pagers. Since I've been in the situation a few times where getting a pee is at least as urgent to me as getting to a coronary victim is to them, I don't like this idea too much.

  23. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Customer service

    Customer: "Operator, I can't send an SMS - it says "message failed""!

    Operator: "Sir, are you taking a piss?"

  24. Spleen

    Er...

    If the point is to prevent vandalism, why wouldn't vandals just smash the door in? I can't imagine it's made of bank-vault-style reinforced steel.

    I smell pork.

    @A J Stiles: Er, you know food is a biological necessity, right?

  25. Jason Togneri
    Stop

    @ most of the comments here

    First of all, it says to text OPEN. Whoever dredged up the list of Finnish words, most of those are derivatives, the Finnish equivalent would be AVAA, not employing Ä or Ö characters at all. Finns are very used to having English words scattered around.

    Second, Finland does indeed have a very well-developed telecommunications backbone - you can buy transport tickets for bus/metro/trams as a text ticket within the Helsinki metropolitan area, and there are some sweet machines somewhere in the central railway station that accept text messages as payment too.

    Finally, those pay-toilets do indeed tend to be made quite strongly - we're not talking about those blue plastic portaloos that you see at rock concerts. In the streets of Helsinki you can find grey metallic pay-toilets sitting at street corners. Not as out-of-place as you'd think.

    That said, none of the above applies to a place like the UK, where all of the moans and problems in these comments probably apply quite rightly. This just would not work in the UK.

  26. Tom Chiverton

    "food and drink should also be free"

    Yes, they should.

    Have you seen Africa recently ?

  27. Simon B
    Paris Hilton

    a dumb paris idea if u ask me, it's easily defeated!

    Go in loo & trash it, then call them and tell them the place is a mess, the person who used the loo before you gets blamed!

    Or how about PAYG phones, no contract means no tracability as to who owns the phone. OK they could have my number traced but would they REALLY go to all that effort and cost?

    Bit of a pointless excercise if you ask me, right I'm off for a wazz ... up the outside of this silly text to open loo ;) much cheaper!

    Me thinks Paris came up with this dumb as idea!

  28. Dr.Frito

    Bad Bad Bad

    Just using myself as an example:

    After moving it took an act of God to get out of our contracts w/o the early termination fee....(old service not available here)

    Only 2 cell companies here and I don't like either company, us cellular and alltel.

    Right now I'm also being somewhat of a tightwad, just don't feel like spending $80 per month on a stupid cell phone. It's really nice not being able to be found 24/7. Also I won't sign a 2 year contract we never did before.

    And another point in my case. We ALWAYS had text messaging disabled on our accounts. We had some dirty spam messages come through so since then just had the service turned off. I don't even remember how to text. You know what? I like it that way. We actually visit with each other uninterrupted....

    If you really have to poo or are sick I guess your just SOL???

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