Girls Around Me App: Dating Innovation or Creepy Invitation?

Too bad there’s not a permissions cleaner that will protect you from unwanted advances in real life. An app called Girls Around Me boasts on their homepage, “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.” and “This Foursquare-based tool helps you see where nearby girls are checking in, and shows you what they look like and how to get in touch!”. Amazing copy there, don’t ya think?

This app sounds like a stalkers dream come true and a PR nightmare waiting to happen. Especially once you make it to their FAQ page. Of note:

“Do you publish personal information?”

“No. We only use publicly available information that we retrieve from the Foursquare and Facebook APIs. We process this information and display it on the screen of your phone. We have no access to your login details; they are stored on the Foursquare and Facebook servers. Authorisation is carried out on their side.”

I find this wording incredibly misleading. They publish publicly available information that you decided you were comfortable sharing with Foursquare and/or Facebook. Whether or not that information is “personal” is relative and they are definitely taking that information out of context. At no point in signing up for Foursquare, for example, did it occur to me that random third party apps would be able to access and publicize this information to strangers outside my personal circles and promote my whereabouts to strangers “around me” that have not been accepted as my friend and who would otherwise not have discovered me at all.

Browse their TOS page and you’ll find they withdraw themselves of any responsibility for negative outcomes by way of using the app, and they also reserve the right to share your information with third parties. So basically, by agreeing to Foursquare and/or Facebook TOS you have invited all of this into your world as well. Third party? Now we’re talking more like 4th, 5th party. Six degrees of separation from our own data!

What do you think about this app? Exploitation or innovation? I personally find it incredibly creepy.

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