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Girls Around Me a 'wake-up call' on Facebook privacy

Mat Bettinson
Girls Around Me a 'wake-up call' on Facebook privacy

The developer of a controversial 'creep' iPhone application called "Girls Around Me" removed the app from the iTunes store after social networking service Foursquare cut off access.

The application aggregates data from Facebook and Foursquare, offering geographic locations and profile images on a handy map. One concerned website dubbed the application a "wake-up call about Facebook privacy."

"In the mood for love, or just after a one-night stand? Girls Around Me puts you in control! Reveal the hottest nightspots, who’s in them, and how to reach them," wrote the app's authors on the promotional web site.

CultofMac writer John Brownlee penned a feature on the Girls Around Me application where he describes introducing the application to women friends who appeared "sick and horrified" as the features of the application were revealed.

Following the story, Foursquare revoked API access to the Girls Around Me app, denying the developer any more data to use. Russian app developer i-Free later pulled the app from the iTunes store and issued a lengthy statement to the WSJ saying: "We see this wave of negative as a serious misunderstanding of the app’s goals, purpose, abilities and restrictions."

The app developer maintains that Girls Around Me was intended to identify public venues nearby but CultofMac described the denials as "patently absurd" given the text descriptions of the application. Indeed it's hard to see how the application is anything other than a war driving kit for stalkers.

Perhaps most worryingly, the application highlights how much potentially dangerous private information is leaked by social networks by their users that, despite all the warnings, still don't seem to fully grasp the implications.

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Tags: apps, privacy, facebook

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