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World's Creepiest iPhone App Pulled After Outcry

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the was-that-inappropriate? dept.

Iphone 459

Hugh Pickens writes "Ben Grubb reports that an iPhone app that essentially allowed users to stalk women nearby using a location-based social networking service has been pulled from the iTunes app store by its developer after an outcry of criticism including a comment by Gizmodo labelling the 'Girls Around Me' app as the 'world's creepiest' app and a comment in The New York Times Bits blog, which said it 'definitely' won the prize for being 'too creepy'. The 'Girls Around Me' app utilized publicly available data to show a map with women who had checked-in to locations nearby using Foursquare and let users view Facebook information of those ladies if they had tied their Facebook account to their Foursquare account and if their Facebook account privacy settings were lax enough to allow any user to access it. The promotional website used for marketing the app states that the service 'helps you see where nearby girls are checking in, and shows you what they look like and how to get in touch, adding '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.' Foursquare yanked the Girls Around Me app's access to its data, which in turn led to the app's developer removing it from iTunes as it didn't work properly. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the company behind the app defended its creation: 'Since the app's launch till last Friday nobody ever raised a privacy concern because, again, it is clearly stated that Girls Around Me cannot show the user more data than [what Foursqure or Facebook] already does.'"

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Good intentions pave the road to a stalking charge (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549441)

I bet it honestly never occured to the guys who did this thing that someone might use it for creepy stuff. Sometimes you can do something with innocent enough intentions only to realize later "Holy shit, someone could use this for some pretty bad purposes!" So it may be best to cut them some slack and assume that they honestly did just mean this as a way for willing/non-creepy people to meet up in meatspace. I bet there are a lot of similar apps out there being used for stuff that they were never designed for, particularly in an age where way too many young people think nothing of posting every detail of their life and personal musing online for the world to see.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549575)

It seems to me that, if it's showing you people around you, that's the opposite of stalking. You're not tracking any particular person, you're looking at the publicly available info of people near you. Traditional Twitter and Facebook usage is closer to stalking than this is, since they're used for following the activities of specific people.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550011)

It's actually a kind of ice breaker app. Indeed it is the opposite of stalking. It's more like fishing. It only becomes stalking when the fisher finds one in particular that it wants. I say "it" simply because I don't want to demonize men any more than necessary. (It's not like women never do scary things [toptenz.net] )

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

krept (697623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549577)

The similar apps are most likely related strictly to "friends" or at least women who are actively interested in providing their information with the intention of hooking up. Why the hell do you need an app to tell you there are women somewhere? Couldn't you just go to the bar and see a woman there? Do people really need to break the ice with a random text message from a stranger? That IS creepy...
At least with Facebook/Foursquare check-ins it's assumed that you're actually friends with the person. Even in that case it'd be nice to have a little correspondence and plan to meet up before hand.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549589)

way too many young people think nothing of posting every detail of their life and personal musing online for the world to see.

Exactly, that is the problem. Not the app itself, it just makes it more convenient to browse the available information.

If those women find that their personal information is out there on the street, including where they are *right now*, and that people are using that to find dates or for whatever purpose - then they have only themselves to blame for putting it out on the street to begin with! But then maybe that's what they are actually after. You never know.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549695)

I suppose next you're going to suggest that said women should also be responsible for the unwanted attention they get when they wear certain clothes and have only themselves to blame.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549789)

I suppose next you're going to suggest that said women should also be responsible for the unwanted attention they get when they wear certain clothes and have only themselves to blame.

Yes. You don't want your boobs stared at, don't display them. We're men, get over it.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0, Troll)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550175)

AMEN!

I have no problem whatsoever respecting a woman who respects herself enough to not put herself on display, similarly to how I have no problem not peeking through someone's blinds. But, ladies, just like I might catch a glimpse of your naked ass if you walk in front of your wide-open picture window as I'm walking down the sidewalk in front of your house, whether I wanted to see it or not (PROTIP: I probably didn't want to see it), I'm probably gonna see your tits and ass if they're hanging out of your clothes.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you want respect, dress and act like a respectable adult. If you want to dress like a slutty Barbie doll and act like a highschool student, excpect to be played with like a Barbie doll and taught a lesson like a student.

That said, I've never been the type to play with people like that, or "teach them a lesson", but there is no denying that there are people out there who do these things. If you don't want to fall victim to it, don't dress and act in ways that invite it. If you can't get that through your head and adjust your lifestyle accordingly, for your own betterment, then I'm sorry to say you get what you deserve.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549825)

I suppose next you're going to suggest that said women should also be responsible for the unwanted attention they get when they wear certain clothes and have only themselves to blame.

I suppose next you're going to defend their rights to write all their personal information out on the internet and then tell us that she should still expect privacy and that it's our fault for reading it.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550099)

Idiot. It's *ALWAYS* a man's fault. When will you get that through your head? The world, and indeed, the laws of nature and physics must all change because women aren't responsible for knowing or understanding them. Women are always the victim and are never responsible for consequences of their actions, inactions or their lack of knowing.

Meanwhile, if you're a man, you're just evil.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549855)

I really wonder. I'd take the stance that the argument "look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it" is pretty horrible & overtly oppressive in most circumstances. However, the state of affairs described by wvmarle would be, to me, the equivalent of leaving the house without pants. If you leave the house without pants on, then yeah, you deserve the negative attention you get. It's a boundary which _all_persons_ capable of dressing themselves should respect, and if you left your house without pants in the morning and threw a fit because you were getting unwanted attention, I'd say that you were not competent to manage your own affairs.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (2)

Zan Lynx (87672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549893)

If the attention is just looking and perhaps verbal comments. Yes, if a women dresses in a way to attract male attention, she shouldn't be complaining about the attention she's attracting. She's got to know she's going to get the attention of all the unwanted men as well as whoever she was looking to impress.

The same for men of course. If a man is out walking on the street in his Conan the Barbarian leather harness, he has to expect to attract attention. Likewise if he's wearing a $10,000 suit and a Patek Phillipe watch.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550131)

Depends on the type of attention. Yeah, maybe she wants to be looked at, but that doesn't give you license to grope her.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550015)

You wouldn't say that if I walked around in Speedos!

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (2)

CodeHxr (2471822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550195)

Speedos (and all spandex) are a privilege, not a right!

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

trnk (1887028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550027)

Do you want to clarify that a little? ...because if 'whatever purpose' really does imply whatever purpose then you seem to be suggesting that some women are 'actually after' getting raped. I thought we were past the 'she was asking for it' vein of apologism in relation to this sort of thing.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (4, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550081)

I've been reading about this thing ever since the story broke and found plenty of apps that do more or less the same thing - it's only after Cult of Mac reported about it that it seems the outrage really took off... and even then still only for this app.

The most worrying story I read was that people (they mention girls/women. a lot. pulling at the ol' heartstrings, I suppose, as the app can list men just as well) should indeed be aware of what information they put out there when they go and sign up for facebook, foursquare, etc.
If you feel a "but" coming, here goes:
BUT, that doesn't mean that people should be allowed to just take that information and use it for their own purposes.

They likened it to the "with what she was wearing, she had it coming" adage. Which is a horrible thing, and a horrible comparison as it immediately conjures up images of sexual assault / rape. In reality, the comparison is more akin to "with what she was wearing, she shouldn't complain that somebody was looking". If somebody walks down the street dressed up as Batman, I'm going to look. If somebody walks down the street in shorts that are little more than panties made out of denim, I'm going to look (female or not), because who wouldn't? I'm not going to suggest that if you're wearing that, you want to get sexually assaulted, and perhaps you don't even want to get looked at - but in the latter case you really just have a poor grasp on reality.

So if somebody puts up information on foursquare about where they are, and I find that information, think the person looks cute, yes - I may just google them, and find their facebook, and then take a closer look. Is that creepy? Well if I look up your favorite movie, drink, etc., walk into the establishment, sit down close to you and order your favorite drink and start yapping away about that movie.. yes. But then I'm a creep - that doesn't make finding that information 'creepy'. It's just human curiosity. Millions of people don't find it one bit creepy when it's a story in the latest tabloid / Cosmo / etc.

And yet that is exactly the sort of thing that is being argued in these articles. That when you put something on facebook, you're actually only putting it up there for the purposes that you want it to be used for. Even if you've made it public for the world, that you get full control over how that information is used.
So you want to be found with foursquare because that's how you get your cheaper drink, but you don't want anybody -but- that establishment to know that. Of course the establishment has the exact opposing desire: they want as many people checked in there as possible. Neither of them are likely to 'want' apps like these to exist, but the latter two desires are completely opposite.

So what is the solution? Why, ban these apps, of course.
Never mind that the information can still be looked up manually (or by means of other apps), as long as the threat that's on the radar has been eliminated.

One suggestion that I did find interesting was getting a notification when somebody uses your information. Unfortunately, that would be technically a horrible mess, and with things like foursquare, how quickly would you turn those notifications off when you get dozens per day from random passers-by / people doing web queries / etc?

There was a great opportunity here to teach people about their privacy settings, but it has gotten completely undermined by simply labeling the app as 'creepy', 'stalker app', etc. and the defense that just because you're telling the world where you are, that doesn't mean the world should actually be listening.

This includes Cult of Mac, whose latter stories have focused more on the app than on the privacy issues with foursquare/facebook.
Though I wouldn't expect much different, seeing as Cult of Mac uses a comment syndication service (Vanilla) which, in part, accepts facebook logins. Which in turn yields your facebook profile image. Which in turn yields your facebook profile, no matter what you make your user name in the comment appear to be.
Doctor, heal thyself.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (5, Insightful)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549617)

For my part i think we should thank that developer. He show to everyone how data protection laws are too lax or inexistant. He show how some people doesn't understand how a little bit of what seems to them innocuous data can bit them in the ass very hard. And perhaps when a certain number of problem will show up in the news and courtrooms due to the availability of these datas, perhaps then the legislator will do something about it under the pressure of the frightened populace.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549843)

you're right, this isn't much different than http://pleaserobme.com/ [pleaserobme.com] -- and it even has a high chance of being effective. any girl stupid enough to make her facebook account public is more likely to sleep with the kind of guy that needs this app. just sayin

Re:data protection laws are too lax (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549941)

Heh he could have changed about 5 words and sold it to the government!

"Terrorists around you" (everybody!)

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549701)

If he really had no idea what that app could be used for, he's by no means any better than the idiots targeted with the app.

Fuck, does it really take more than two brain cells to figure out what's going to happen with this? Are people really that stupid?

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549903)

Yes. Yes, they apparently are.

Then again, it's also possible that this was the intended purpose all along. If so, +10 Dark Side Points for them.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (4, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549721)

I bet it honestly never occured to the guys who did this thing that someone might use it for creepy stuff.

Yeah, no, they knew exactly what it was. Just look at the loading screen:

http://www.cultofmac.com/157641/this-creepy-app-isnt-just-stalking-women-without-their-knowledge-its-a-wake-up-call-about-facebook-privacy/ [cultofmac.com]

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549777)

I bet it honestly never occured to the guys who did this thing that someone might use it for creepy stuff.

Cutlery shops, anyone? Those must be really creepy as well because you can chop people to pieces with them!

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549815)

freedom always had an ugly side. it should be banned - b/c that's not freedom.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549857)

I bet it honestly never occured to the guys who did this thing that someone might use it for creepy stuff.

More likely, I think, is that they don't consider that stuff to be creepy. A depressing number of people just don't.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (5, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549905)

I'd be willing to file this under "creepy, but inevitable". Given the amount of data these people posted about themselves publicly, it'd only be a matter of time until an app like this was made, and it'll only be a matter of time until one is made again.

Rather than being creeped out about it, and removing it, someone should just take a lesson from judo, and use the weight of the users against them. Someone should just create a Firesheep-like app that identifies users of the system, and when they accessed your data. Call it "Doucher Alert". If the alert goes off, and five minutes later you get hit on by a guy who "was just passing by, baby", then you can safely cross them off your list. Let the morons self-identify. Don't take away their tools, but just make sure the toolbox contains a long enough length of rope.

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549971)

It's App to find people who want to be found. It's like posting your address in the White Pages, but not realizing that everyone can see it. I guess some people are just that stupid!

Re:Good intentions pave the road to a stalking cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550201)

What is "creepy stuff?" Maybe behavior that would force women to confront their inadequacy in our "equal" society? It is not creepy, it just is what it is. If anything is creepy, it is the Facebook aspect. They merely utilized technology to solve a problem. Heaven forbid you meet a nice girl after "stalking" her with this app. It used to be called courting. Next, the fine technology we call eyes are going to be "creepy."

Looks like they beat me to it. (5, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549481)

I was going to make a comment reading halfway through, but the end of the summary hit it perfectly.

Girls Around Me cannot show the user more data than [what Foursqure or Facebook] already does.

Seriously, if you're concerned about creepy bastards knowing where you are, don't tell the entire bloody internet

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (5, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549555)

Bingo. People are so much in love with their social network super-star status. "OMG Mayor of Starbucks! Friend me! LIKE ME!"

But as soon as people use the information they posted to glean useful data: "WTF STALKER"

Can't have it both ways, people.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (5, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549603)

Not even that...

Chicks seem fine with guys knowing everything about them, so long s they are attractive and got money.
One of my coworkers will regularly have one night stands but throw a fit if a guy she does not like hits on her in a public place.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550059)

Not even that...

Chicks seem fine with guys knowing everything about them, so long s they are attractive and got money.
One of my coworkers will regularly have one night stands but throw a fit if a guy she does not like hits on her in a public place.

That female co-worker's attitude towards "who's good to date" and such is a bit off, that's for sure.
Anyone reading, please don't think all women are like this. Not all of us are shallow like that. And, not all of us are 'chicks' that are fine with _just_anyone_ knowing everything about us.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549607)

What good does pulling this app serve, exactly? I can already see some bastard in some godforsaken country with big $$$s in his eyes, thinking "that would be a great online service".

I'm actually quite amazed that such services don't exist yet (otoh, I have not been looking, they may actually exist and nobody bothered to tell me).

Information you put on the internet can and will be mined. And I really, really, REALLY hope that it happens sooner than later, before the fallout gets even worse.

Gaydar? (4, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549945)

A while back I was chatting to a friend in a bar, who suddenly said, "wow, he's hot! I wonder if he's single?" and pulled out his phone to check.

I think the app on the phone was called Gaydar. It did essentially the same thing -- showed nearby men's pictures, and some basic profile information. However, the big difference is the men had all very clearly opted in to this service.

(The man was not on Gaydar, so my friend had to do things the old-fashioned way, and go and talk to him.)

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549615)

It's kind of like Torrent Trackers. It isn't necessarily that the trackers do anything bad -- they just consolidate the information in a fashion that makes it easier to find. That's all this app does. But that's still facilitating the sketchy activity.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549657)

Seriously, if you're concerned about creepy bastards knowing where you are, don't tell the entire bloody internet

I think it follows the long standing female tradition of putting the goods on display and then whining about guys staring at the goods. Drama queen antics.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550115)

Guys and girls inherit the same behavior from the base human class: "Limit access of undesirables."

However, a guy's access list is transparent and widely-known, whereas women have a vested interest in keeping the blacklist secret. This is why guys are seen as shallow, but women see themselves as unique and infinitely unknowable. But rest assured: they too have a blacklist, and denial is proof of insincerity.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (2)

Chatterton (228704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549677)

The problem is that they think that the information they put online is nothing important.... Until their life is destroyed by that same information (Teachers' party picture, tweet with bad words...)

Should we cripple services and/or internet because of some fools. Or let Darwin do its job?

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (-1, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549743)

These services do absolutely not make it obvious that you are telling things to the entire internet, rather than just to friends.

That's nothing but blaming the victim.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (2)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549923)

What the fuck? Even I know that foursquare's entire fucking purpose is to tell other people where you are, and I don't even use the service.

How exactly is some daft idiot telling the world where they are a victim when someone else uses that information to... tell where they are.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549985)

This is a great point! Maybe Facebook et al should have a disclaimer every time a user posts pictures and comments. It would be annoying, but at least people would not be surprised when their personal info shows up all over the internet.

Re:Looks like they beat me to it. (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550077)

These services do absolutely not make it obvious that you are telling things to the entire internet, rather than just to friends.

That's nothing but blaming the victim.

It just goes to show that everyone who think the world is different with social media is deluded. EVERYTHING posted online is available to EVERYONE. I believe we called it "don't post anything online you don't want the world to know". Back when "online" meant two computers dialing each other up via modem, and probably before personal computers, as well.

There's no such thing as privacy settings. At best, they're equivalent to sharing a secret with a bunch of friends - and anyone who's done that knows that it leaks rapidly. Someone will tell someone else, and soon the whole world knows.

And really, anything you put online will get known. Unless you write it only for yourself, at which point why bother putting it online? The Internet's memory is long and unforgiving and anything put online basically lives forever - it can ever be deleted, nor controlled.

Noooooo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549495)

So the only useful iPhone app in existence has been pulled from the store? Great, just great. Now how do I find the girls around me?

Another question: Are there any tricks to enhance cell phone reception in the basement where I'm sitting?

Re:Noooooo (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550143)

Wrap the thing in tinfoil like a baked potato.

If AT&T:

Preheat oven to 450-Degrees-Fahrenheit.
Bake for seven (7) hours.
Serve with sour cream/chives and cheese of your choice.
Enjoy.

"Outcry" misdirected (5, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549499)

Funny thing is, the "outcry" of the users affected should be either directed at FB/4square, or, more appropriately, at the users themselves. It's your own damn fault that you have made so much data publicly available that this is possible. Get your head out of your ass, you're the only one you have to blame...

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549567)

I mean, sure, why the hell should women be able to put out information without it being used by perverts? By the same line of thought, women who wear short skirts should basically *expect* to have men standing underneath stairs looking up at the them. The fact is, yes, putting information out there is a mistake but that doesn't make it *right*.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (0)

Cederic (9623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549937)

Erm. But I wear short skirts because they're comfortable and make my legs look good. If a man happens to be stood downstairs from me and gets an eyeful then that's something I need to be conscious of avoiding, but it doesn't excuse someone standing under a staircase specifically trying to invade my privacy.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550153)

If a woman has nice legs but nobody sees them, are they still nice?

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549939)

By the same line of thought, women who wear short skirts should basically *expect* to have men standing underneath stairs looking up at the them

Bad analogy. Its more like "women who intentionally decide to wear the shortest skirt in view should basically *expect* to have men staring at their legs". Its one of the oldest games in the book, put the man-magnets on display in the smallest tightest sheerest translucent lacy most revealing way legally possible without getting an indecent exposure ticket (or risking a ticket anyway), then oddly enough men look at her man magnets, but not enough for her, so she draws even more attention to herself being on display by whining about the (small number of) men looking at her man magnets trying to get even more to look...

This is the same game, played online. "Hey boys ... I'm down at the bar lookin hot and lonely... " she's still not getting enough attention, so try to grab some more with "oh you naughty, naughty boys for noticing I told you I'm at the bar"

As an old married guy I can just stand back and laugh at this game now, but I see absolutely NOTHING has changed in decades other than some new technology. In my youth it was the miracle fabric spandex (I'd love to buy the inventor of that a beer...), now young women use 4sq to put the goods on display. Eh ... same old game. I'm sure in a couple decades it'll be holographic nude sexting and, again, the girls will be complaining that the guys look at them when they try to get attention.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549623)

This is a good point, but on the other hand engaging in risky behavior cannot and should not make you responsible for the people who unscrupulously take advantage of that risky behavior. The culpability always lies in the hands of those who actually engage in wrongful conduct. Blaming victims is a horrible thing to do, and you should re-examine your position considering that point.

I agree that it would help a lot if people in general had a greater understanding of the persistence and availability of information they choose to publish, but that does not make them TO BLAME for people who abuse that information.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549703)

Hm, good point. I know I was being extreme in my original post. Still, it's not clear whether this is an example of someone taking advantage of risky behavior. I don't know if what happened is legally equivalent to someone stealing a car with its doors wide open and key in the ignition (obviously I mean qualitatively, not in severity), or, say, snapping a picture of someone who walked out into the street naked with a dildo up his ass (in which case I believe the person taking the picture is often morally and legally in the clear, though I'm sure it changes depending on state/country). IANAL, help!

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549793)

This is a good point, but on the other hand engaging in risky behavior cannot and should not make you responsible for the people who unscrupulously take advantage of that risky behavior. The culpability always lies in the hands of those who actually engage in wrongful conduct.

No argument... but I also don't see anyone here who engaged in any wrongful conduct. This app is "creepy", yes, but mostly because it makes clear to people who might not have realized it that they're publishing information they might not want others to know. Arguably, that's a good thing... because the absence of the app doesn't mean the information isn't available and easily accessible. Hopefully this will motivate some women to be more circumspect about who they publish their checkins to (does Foursquare offer the option of making checkins available only to designated friends, like the way Google Latitude works?).

If there's any misconduct here, I'd say it's on the part of Foursquare, by making checkins not only public but personally identifiable! This should clearly not be the default, and I question whether a responsible service should provide it at all. Publishing precise locations of individual people to the world just seems like a bad idea.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550119)

If anything the app, to me, seems a good thing. Kind of like a 'death observation post' at the bottom of a cliff. With big signs noting the number of climbers killed each day and offering binoculars for only a few $/hour.

Sure it might be creepy, but at the same time it will serve as a warning to future climbers that their actions might be risky.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549629)

But back in reality, most people have no idea the damage they do to themselves by using these services willy nilly. And since we cannot educate everyone overnight, my opinion is that we need legislation to protect the consumers (rather, products) from social networks.

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (0)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550111)

Obviously, it is the fault of the hot women for being both hot and on the Internet. If you don't want to be packaged as a commodity, you should cease to exist on the Internet. Solved! Where's the outrage at hot women who would like to exist online without being packaged as a consumable? That's not allowed!

Re:"Outcry" misdirected (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550191)

Newsflash, hot women aren't the only ones packaged as commodities online. We all are. It's just that hot women are more likely to be commodities for individual people, which we notice much more.

Typical (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549503)

Pulling the app is a classic case of denial. It's fairly easy to create an app like this, the information is all publicly available. If people are honestly concerned about their privacy they should either stop posting the details of their lives on-line or they should lobby the companies involved to provide better privacy controls. Pulling the app is a typical case of shooting the messenger.

As if 4Square isn't creepy enough (1)

jslarve (1193417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549505)

But so's the internet

Beautiful (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549525)

This is a most beautiful example of what people expose to the social networking services really does.

What people think they're sharing is not what they are actually sharing and the impact goes way beyond their friends.

Unsurprised (3, Insightful)

udoschuermann (158146) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549541)

It was just a matter of time before this kind of stuff (linking publicly available data from multiple sources) moved from the domain of the targeted advertisers into the hands of mobile device market places. Is anyone really surprised by this? I guess the creep-factor comes into play when it's individuals who can stalk you, rather than corporations...

Re:Unsurprised (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550021)

Excellent point! Sure wish I could mod you up!

Bad marketing. (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549543)

If the app was billed as "Find out who's around you!" instead of "Find the girls around you!", it'd do exactly the same thing, and continue to be sold.

Of course, anyone could still write this app very easily because people are publicly publishing their location information. (Duh). The story should have been "Look what people can do when you tell literally everyone in the world where you are" instead of "person makes creepy app".

helpful clarification (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549561)

A " girl " is like "your mom", but younger and not genetically related to you.

Re:helpful clarification (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549673)

A " girl " is like "your mom", but younger and not genetically related to you.

... unless that girl is your sister. Then you're heading right back into 'creepy' territory.

Re:helpful clarification (1)

shippers (1100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549773)

A " girl " is like "your mom", but younger and not genetically related to you.

... unless that girl is your sister. Then you're heading right back into 'creepy' territory.

Especially creepy if somehow your sister isn't genetically related to you.

Re:helpful clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550035)

Step-sisters are fair game, it isn't creepy at all.

Re:helpful clarification (2)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549693)

Not exactly. It isn't known if any particular "girl" puts out. It IS know that your mom does.

Creepiness is ONLY for hackers/nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549563)

I guess this means that only people with the skills necessary to scrape this information themselves are allowed to be creepy stalkers.

Go nerd stereotypes!!!

Why forbid it? I fully endorse such apps! (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549579)

No, not because I want to stalk women. But maybe it will eventually make people aware that their privacy is something that should be kept, well, private.

Yes, I'm aware of the implications. Then again, I have zero sympathy for stupid people.

Re:Why forbid it? I fully endorse such apps! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549829)

Evolutionarily speaking, if those who post their location data online wind up having more kids (more breeding because of easier/more frequent breeding opportunities) wouldn't the kind of person who is genetically predisposed to share their location data become more common? If sharing one's location data online becomes something good for evolutionary fitness then wouldn't all the privacy advocates eventually die out?

Re:Why forbid it? I fully endorse such apps! (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550165)

I weep for humanity.

Silly, this is the future of ambient social apps (1)

djrosen (265939) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549619)

Its going this way anyway. Change the app to show everyone and add all sorts of filters like distance, type of establishments shown, by birthday, by sex, interests, etc and this would have snuck past them all. This is what ambient social networking is all about. Giving you a way to find people locally with the same interests and equally willing to share those interests with the world. Already happening within a slightly more limited scope http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4260730&trk=anet_ug_grppro [linkedin.com]

Women are equal in every way! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549641)

Any bets on whether a "guy around me" app would have raised any inkling of similar outcry?

Re:Women are equal in every way! (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549707)

I'm gonna release "slashdotters around me" and retire with a 47 million dollar IPO. Don't laugh, its a more sustainable business model than groupon...

Re:Women are equal in every way! (5, Informative)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549779)

Any bets on whether a "guy around me" app would have raised any inkling of similar outcry?

Actually, despite the name, the app could show either males or females. (Yeah, I know, it's not cool to RTFA.)

Re:Women are equal in every way! (1)

ponraul (1233704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549877)

It's call GRINDR. And no.

Re:Women are equal in every way! (-1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549917)

Any bets on whether a "guy around me" app would have raised any inkling of similar outcry?

Hmmm ... I wonder why it wouldn't. This was modded "insightful"?

I wonder why people think intentional ignorance will somehow yield good results for them or our society.

That's not creepy (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549653)

It's not as if the app is accessing information that isn't already publicly available. Newsflash, ladies: if you're checking in to every shop you visit on foursquare, your stalker (the real one, not the guy in the office building across the street looking for a date) already knows. No app needed.

Creepy to me would be, say, an app that is secretly installed on your phone, cannot be removed or turned off, that transmits all sorts of private usage data to clandestine third-party servers without the user's permission. [techcrunch.com]

And it filters appropriately! (3, Funny)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549659)

The bonus is that you can find airheads. Just looking around you will only tell you that they are women, not that they're also careless about their personal safety.

"I've got nothing to hide" (1)

bluestar (17362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549665)

To all the people who say you don't need privacy if you've got nothing to hide, fuck you. While this app has no business in the app store anyway, hopefully the masses will wake up and STOP BROADCASTING their entire life on the Internet.

Applying Big Data to clubbing (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549671)

Automatic hot nightclub recognition would be fun. Crunch on Facebook data to see who's popular. Use Face Beaury Rank [facebeautyrank.com] (see "Automatic Classification of Chinese Female Facial Beauty using Support Vector Machine" [hcii-lab.net] for the theory) to see who's good looking. Use Foursquare data to see what places fill up with hot women. Compute the male/female ratio for locations. Discard places which are almost all female (those are probably beauty salons, etc.) Display on map.

People? I just had an idea how to raise awareness (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549675)

This app actually gives me an idea how to increase awareness of people concerning their privacy. Create a homepage where you can "for fun" see what's available about you on the internet. Of course that entails signing up to a lot of social networking sites (to see "everything").

Then tell them that you sent this comprehensive collection also to Bob (see picture of naked, fat man) who is desperately looking for a "friend". If you're looking for a "friend" too, just send a pic and the info about the next idiot ... user who asks us to search him will be yours.

If you think this app is creepy, you haven't seen anything yet. Plus, I'd be insanely curious just how many will actually send a pic...

It's a Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549683)

I don't care for the App, but I think it certainly raises awareness, don't share your life on the Internet with everyone! If you do, than you take the risks.

Foursquare blocked access, so the app was useless (5, Insightful)

DaScribbler (701492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549689)

If I recall correctly (as this news isn't exactly new... it's a few days old), the app wasn't pulled because of the outcry. It was pulled because Foursquare revoked the app's access to their APIs because it violated their terms of service which dictated you aren't allowed to use the APIs to aggregate information.

I thought it sounded awesome. (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549741)

Sounded like a cool app to me. If you do something idiotic like publish your location in real time on the Internet for the whole world to see, you need a nice kick in the pants to help you understand just how much of a fool you are. I actually think we need more apps like this, they help remind people why some of us "crazies" actually value our privacy.

data mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549753)

All this is really good for is being good example to the non-tech masses how effective data mining is.
They may have had the idea that all data-mining is is to profile you for the purpose of sending you spam and coupons.

As for weird guys stalking women, old news.

Which leads me on a tangent.... if they made a "special" CSI or Law and Order or NCIS episode were the cops were corrupt and using their positions (powers and privileges shown/used in the normal episodes) for their own gains and not to the the Hero of the Week.

More such apps and software to come (3, Insightful)

JBv (25001) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549757)

The only surprise here is that it took so long to have such an app.

I expected that the whole metrics of social networking used in data mining and publicity would be used to service the needs of the parents (where did your kids go today? What did they buy? Who are these people on the photo with him?), the spouses (Where is she? Is he really working?), the employers (was he really calling sick from home? Does he have a drinking problem?) and any other legitimate or illegitimate need.

The potential so grand, so dark and so evil that this simple app listing girls around you seems quite harmless...

But apps like Grindr are ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549775)

Grindr does the same thing. But of course, it doesnt publish info about nearby delicate, vulnerable and angelic innocent creatures known as women.

Surprise! (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549805)

If you share your position with the whole internet then anyone will know where you are. Who would have thought?

main problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549817)

It's IPhone so the main problem is that the app is showing girls around you, not homosexual man...

Utensílios de Cozinha | UD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549861)

Very good, - http://www.utensilioscozinha.com.br

If you didn't want to be seen... (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549875)

Don't post your info on Facebook or 4square.

I mean, if I sit in the bushes outside your house, and I happen to see you undressing, it's really your fault for not closing the windows more carefully. And if you didn't want me pointing a telescope at your daughters room, you really shouldn't have put her in a room with a window... If you didn't want me leering at your date, you probably shouldn't have brought her to a night club.

Yeah, the data is out there, and bad people will take advantage of it. But, that doesn't make it okay to do bad or creepy things. The ability to cross-reference and link data about people is a powerful and scary thing. It's really amazing to see people freaking out about Google's ability to profile you, and then blame the victim when another company facilitates the same.

Let's face it... It'd be nice to be able to have a public presence without worrying about this kind of BS.

Re:If you didn't want to be seen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550069)

Saying it's stupid to put your private information out there isn't an endorsement for others using that information for evil deeds. Never mind those awful metaphors.

This app isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39549891)

The problem is foursquare and facebook. In fact, I'd say this app is a good thing, as it exposed the issues, to the general public, with facebook and foursquare.

this again? (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549931)

i thought there was already an app that let you see which nightclubs the most women had checked into, so you could avoid bar hopping. this just adds the facebook information these women are already giving away freely. i don't believe women who dress provocatively deserve to be raped, but i do believe anyone who puts out their personal info and realtime location is asking to be fucked in the ass.

But its ok for advertisers (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39549983)

But its ok for advertisers to spy on there every move to rid them of some excess money lol.

How is this MORE creepy than Facebook? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550055)

Seriously...

Maybe not so bad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39550105)

At first I thought that this app was quite a tragedy: the ultimate tool for nullifying privacy.

Then I tried using it for it's intended purpose.

As it turns out, being able to know about a woman before you hit on her is the ULTIMATE tool to load the dice in the mating game. Yes it's creepy, but it works.
If foursquare didn't kill it I would have made an android version.

Government? (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39550167)

Would it surprise you if the government already uses such "apps" and cops on the street had it in their patrol cars? Sure, tin foil hat alert, but when some creep uses it to smooth talk women and there's public outcry, why let cops, or robbers (burglars can also get all this info on you, including how far from your home you are) get away with it? It's about time people started understanding what privacy is about and this app does just that.

I'm all for a few more iterations of this, just so the public gets aware of what is really done with all their information.
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