Uproar Over Creepy 'Girls Around Me' App Is Completely Hypocritical

girls around me stalking app screenshotYou might not have caught it, but this past weekend, there was a ton of buzz about a freaky app recently pulled from the iOS App Store called Girls Around Me. Long story short, the app -- developed and later pulled by a Moscow-based company called i-Free -- mashed up publicly available Facebook and Foursquare data and displayed it on a map for users to track/research women checked in nearby. In other words, if you're kinda careless or lazy about your privacy settings on either Facebook or Foursquare, you could have very easily landed on some creeper's Girls Around Me map. They might have even been able to see your interests, college background, job, etc. aka whatever you share on your Facebook profile publicly.

Yeah, it sounds totally sketch, and on one hand, it's a huge relief that the app is no longer available for download. (i-Free pulled it themselves.) But on the other hand, I can't help but wonder ... Why are people so weirded out by this?

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It's just not that surprising. Why wouldn't something like this exist when so many of us are so blase about throwing tons of personal information out there on the web without even batting an eyelash -- from our exact longitude and latitude to our dog's middle name? But then an app like this comes along as a wake-up call about how stupid we are about our privacy, and suddenly people act like, "Oh noes! I can't believe it!"

Err, well, they BETTER believe it. I'm sure Girls Around Me isn't the only or last app of this kind! And I honestly don't believe what an app like this does is malicious. It's not completely innocent ... But it's not like the app was pilfering info that people aren't volunteering.

In the end, we all have control over our privacy settings on Foursquare and Facebook. We also have the freedom to opt out altogether. You know, by choosing not to share info via social media! (Believe it or not, my fiance isn't on ONE social network. Thus, he's pretty much the last person who would unknowingly turn up on app like this.) Of course, that's not necessarily realistic for some of us (who use social media for work), and really, quitting altogether shouldn't be necessary. But being more conscientious of our privacy settings certainly is.

Does this app make you want to share less online?

 

Image via girlsaround.me

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