Close calls: Icelanders invent ‘incest prevention’ app

2013-04-19 00:00

A NEW cellphone app helps Icelanders avoid accidental incest with someone they have just met.

In a country of just 320 000, most people are at least distantly related, and Icelanders have a national ­genealogical database that helps them keep track.

The new app puts the Íslendingabók (Book of Icelanders) — which lists the names and family trees of about 720 000 Icelanders who have lived since the 18th century — into the pockets of phone users.

“Everyone has heard the story of going to a family event and running into a girl you hooked up with some time ago,” the Associated Press quoted Reykjavik graphic designer Einar Magnusson as saying.

Icelanders’ problem is compounded by the fact that people do not have family surnames, with each person simply called “son” or “dottir” (daughter) of their father.

The app, created by three University of Iceland software engineering students, lets people see how closely related they are, simply by “bumping” their phones together.

An “incest prevention alarm” can be enabled to sound if they are too closely related to have sex.

“Bump the app before you bump in bed,” says the catchy slogan.

The Book of Icelanders database was developed in 1997 by deCODE Genetics, using census data, church records and family archives. It claims to have information of 95% of Icelanders who have lived in the past 300 years, with family trees going back 1 200 years to when the island was settled in the ninth century.

The alarm is really just a gimmick, as it only sounds if the couple have common grandparents, and most people already know who their first cousins are.

It also contains a birthday reminder, so you don’t forget relatives’ birthdays.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.