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May
03

Girls around me” and safety on social networks

Girls around me” and safety on social networks

Article by examiner









An international scandal has grown this week around Girls Around Me, an iPhone application, raising a new wave of interest in online privacy issues.”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,” promises the app, which defines itself as “a revolutionary new city scanner app that turns your town into a dating paradise.”

The geolocation enabled app combines publicly available data from Foursquare and Facebook to “scan” venues located close to a user for information about women (by default) and men who checked-in there.Girls Around Me was downloaded by more than 70,000 people during its first several months.”This Creepy App Isn’t Just Stalking Women Without Their Knowledge, It’s A Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy,” Cult of Mac wrote last Friday, accusing it of “having the potential to be used a tool for rapists and stalkers.”

Foursquare immediately closed the access to its API for the app, while Facebook and Apple did not comment on the accusation.In a statement published in the Wall Street Journal, i-Free defended the app, saying it had been designed merely “to make it easier for a user to step out of doors and hang out in the city, find people with common interests and new places to go to.” The Russian company also removed the app from the iTunes Store, allegedly for technical reasons, but that didn’t stop the firestorm. “The dark side of social networking,” “The end of Internet innocence,” “The creepiest social mobile app,” and “Stalker app hunts women via Facebook” were among the headlines of the articles published in the days following the Cult of Mac post.

More than half a million people visited the Cult of Mac blog; 66 thousand shared the post on Facebook. Hundreds of people commented on the topic.The opposition to the app pointed out that Girls around me used the information about the women without their permission.

While almost all authors of the articles called Girls Around Me creepy and unacceptable, the majority of comments to the articles have been in support of the app. Many argued that the app was not hacking into the information which users did not make public.

Some of those who commented even applauded to the developer. “I think apps like ‘Girls around me’ are the future. Some of us Foursquare users and public Twitterers are choosing to give up our privacy. We don’t fear making connections with strangers; we crave it,” Kashmir Hill wrote on Forbes magazine.Acknowledging that Girls Around Me had “recently provoked negative reactions among potential users,” i-Free finally decided to stop funding its subsidiary which had developed the app.



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An international scandal has grown this week around Girls Around Me, an iPhone application, raising a new wave of interest in online privacy issues.










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