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New, mobile app pulls data from Facebook and Foursquare to 'stalk' women


April 1, 2012 - London

A new mobile phone application doesn't just tell users where their friends and co-workers are, it also updates them where nearby women are, and allows them to see their full name, photos, and send them messages.

The Girls Around Me application takes the user's GPS data from Foursquare and searches for women in the immediate area who have also checked in on the location-based mobile service.

News of the app's less-than-careful data sharing has caused considerable online outrage, with many lambasting the app for making stalking easy and taking advantage of those who don't understand privacy policies of social media.

However, Girls Around Me is a two-way street - users are first asked to link Girls Around me to their personal Facebook account.

Once downloaded, the app requests a host of information, including the user's Facebook log in, pictures, basic information including gender and age, as well as photos and email addresses.

It asks permission to run even when the app itself is closed, thus allowing Girls Around Me to collect location data at all times.

The app's website advertises that Girls Around me 'puts you in control!'

"Reveal the hottest nightspots, who's in them, and how to reach them...' It also says that users can easily find 'love' or 'a one-night stand," the Daily Mail quoted the website as saying.

Though the initial app download is free, users have to pay 99 cents for every 'energy pack,' to search for nearby women in area at an accelerated rate.

Stanford lecturer Elizabeth Stark told the New York Times' Bits blog that the application requires far too much information.

"This would be a very different application if it didn't like back to Facebook, which is a treasure trove of information," she said.

"With that link, this app could easily be a "let's stalk women" app," Stark said.

Sophy Tobias, a spokesperson for Facebook, said that people are responsible for how their information is viewed.

"People can control the privacy for their posts from Privacy Settings, or can customise the settings for individual posts from Facebook.com or their mobile device. Essentially, if the person posting has set the privacy for their post to anything but 'public,' it will not appear in the app," Tobias said.

ANI

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