back to article No-strings nookie radar tugged offline in stalking backlash

Russian developers have hit back at claims that their Foursquare app Girls Around Me was a creepy tool for anonymous stalkers. A representative from dev house I-Free spoke to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, protesting that the software, which used Foursquare and Facebook APIs to locate nearby women, only used information …


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  1. Lamont Cranston

    I uploaded my details to facebook,

    told it I was young, free, single, and looking for a relationship, then made it all public. Now, people have read my profile and assume that I am young, free, single, and looking for a relationship. It's not fair!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I uploaded my details to facebook,

      One night stand != relationship

      Single != looking

      Not single != not looking

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Social Network != privacy

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      just go to

      Newcastle, you don't need the app......

  2. JoeTheAnnoying

    "Involuntarily" involved?

    I have to disagree with, "but with half the users (largely the female half) involuntarily involved."

    These users:

    (a) Signed up for Facebook so everyone could see who they are

    (b) Signed up for Foursquare so everyone could know where they are

    (c) Updated their status when they went out

    I am probably getting old and crotchety, but when someone whines, "I posted my name, picture, and location publicly on the web, and someone used that information to find me and talk to me. Waaaah!" I am a wee bit unsympathetic.

    1. streaky
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "Involuntarily" involved?

      No you're totally right. Like shagging in the street then expecting CCTV operators not to put it on youtube - there's no expectation of privacy when those conditions are met.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Involuntarily" involved?

      It not a privacy issue. It's an unwanted attention issue.

      This would be a non story if the only guys that used the service were fit guys.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy problem will only get worse

    Young people (male and female) seem clueless that public postings will be visible to the public, not just your friends.

    1. SiempreTuna

      Re: Privacy problem will only get worse

      "Young people (male and female) seem clueless"

      The rest was not required.

      1. ItsNotMe

        Re: Privacy problem will only get worse

        "Young people (male and female) ARE clueless"

        There...fixed it for you. You're very welcome.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Privacy problem will only get worse

      But everyone is their friend as soon as they click a button.

  4. Not That Andrew

    Thing is, they didn't publish a "Guys Around Me" app, did they? If they had their argument might be a bit stronger.

    1. John McCallum

      I don't see why this software can't be used by lasses to find a one night stand if that is what they want.

    2. LoopyChew

      Apparently you could filter by either.

    3. Dazed and Confused

      Girls don't need an app

      They just need to stand near the bar, take a good look around and say "heal" in a loud enough voice to be heard over the throng.

      She can then just take her pick from those of us kneeling at her feet.

      1. Jon B

        Re: Girls don't need an app

        No need to be homophonic

        1. wayne 8

          Re: Girls don't need an app

          Maybe she is an evangelist performing faith healings.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet...

    These people probably "had nothing to hide"; an argument which you see used very often when it comes to privacy concerns such as certain software or websites which try to collect and use certain data.

    IMO this is another fine example that its not an issue of having something to hide or not; the real problem is how the collected information is going to be used. These people should have thought about this sooner /before/ posting specific personal information to a website for all to see.

    However; it wouldn't surprise me if some of them simply didn't realize that the information they posted was accessible by everyone. A site like Facebook didn't have all those warnings concerning privacy from the very beginning you know...

    1. streaky

      Re: I bet...

      Here's a tip, if you don't want people to know - don't put it on the public bits of the internet. Lock it down with available tools if you need to.

      Otherwise it might be easy for people to find out if we like Animé and the Blue Man Group. See what happened there?

      We're not talking about governments inserting themselves into your private life, we're talking about people putting information in the public domain then expecting people not to look which is remarkably stupid.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To make money, sell to women. They are the real consumers. If Foursquare had made the program Guys Around Me, it would be a knockout success and would be praised in all women's magazines as the must-have App to "protect" women from the men around them and to guide these sweet innocents to the man who is the best potential catch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "To make money, sell to women."

      Unfortunately these people are just low-grade pimps; their take on this is:

      "To make money, sell women."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Tugged offline"


    I bet some of the users did a lot of off-line tugging

  8. asdf
    Thumb Down

    more proof

    A majority of people are stupid, selfish, greedy and self centered. Once you realize this stories like these become mind numbingly predictable (as does most news stories really).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twas ever thus.

    As a fourteen year old we used to talk of perfect chat up lines. There never was one of course.

    As you get older, it's even more obvious, that if ever there were a foolproof way to get a bird, it would be banned. In fact, it's even worse than that, if there's anything at all you can beat women at, then it ends up before parliament and they outlaw the advantage.

    I'm surprised anyone's the least bit surprised by this, this is the government's purpose, to protect the weak and the useless. I don't vote the government in for what they'll do for me. I vote them in for what they'll stop other men doing to the weak and useless people I care about.

    However, since this is hysterically funny in the sense that women were themselves providing the data for this app, I should also add, that the government doesn't really care about fair either. In a court of law, when it comes to a contest between enforcing fairness for men, versus enforcing accountability for women, I'm afraid we just have to take consolation in the fact that being mistreated by the law is the inevitable consequence of having the ability to look after ourselves.

    There are even entire proverbs dedicated to the observation. "A woman's perogative to change her mind" is the literal acceptance that it's a man's responsibility to bale out women's life choices when they've made wrong ones.

    Life was so much easier before law and order, as we ugly, fat, short, thick, poor blokes could just steal them from a neighbouring tribe. :-) Although that still happens in some countries, and I don't fancy it here.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Twas ever thus.

      agreed. they are so useless they cant stand on buses, or open doors. they also have such low esteem that they must put paint on there faces to hide there natural looks. Or have chemical filled bags inserted into thier bodies to appear to have larger body parts. They also have to watch propeganda on telly that reminds them how much worse there lives could be, and to count themselves lucky, as they too could live in eastenders or hollyoaks, and be beaten or killed on a daily basis.

      I pity the poor dears.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Twas ever thus.

        Mind you, they might be able to spell "their".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Twas ever thus.

        You'd have to be made of some pretty stern stuff to manage being killed on a daily basis.

  10. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    I'm making a new app inspired by this... It scrapes social networking sites for dog owners, their GPS locations and cleverly figures out when and where they walk their dogs. The app is called "Dog Shit Around Me" a new handy tool for smart phones that enables users to avoid likely dog shit hot spots.

    I'm hoping Paris will become the face of Dog Shit Around Me.

  11. b166er

    'reached out to the developer'

    My food nearly 'reached out' all over the place. That's the most wanky saying to ever come out of a boredroom and I hate it.

    Sorry, please carry on...

    1. Marvin the Martian

      It's in the sense of Tolkien's "Watcher in the lake" in front of Moria...

      It "reaches out" and snacks a pony, a rider, or both.

  12. P. Lee
    Big Brother

    Missing the point

    The real sin committed was that it exposed the fact that such data is collected and used for various purposes. Bad publicity like this might degrade the quality of the information that people provide or might even cause them to stop reporting their movements to megacorps for more subtle uses.

  13. Peter Murphy

    Charles Stross on the topic


  14. silent_count

    So um...

    I can only imagine that the people complaining about this app are going to call for a ban on things like Cleo magazine's "50 most eligible bachelor" list.

    PS: Though I know I made this post to a public forum which can be read by anyone inclined to do so, I'm gonna have the biggest whiny, hissy-fit if the information (which I choose to make *public*) is actually read by anyone without my express permission.

  15. Wombling_Free

    Looking for women = BAD EVIL

    Looking for men (Grindr) = fine, carry on.

  16. Semaj

    If they'd had to actually enable themselves to the app before they appeared then I'd say fair enough (I think that's how the gaydar one works) but as it is this one does seem quite stalkery.

    The idea seems like a good one in theory though for people who are usually shy and have trouble just going up to someone they like the look of, just needs a bit more work.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad application

    for Saddos

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If that app is OK, then I should go ahead with my Nobody Home app, which correlates people's locations with their home addresses, and directs you to the nearest unoccupied house.

    I'm sure someone would find that useful.

  19. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Geo-social exploration

    Now that is a euphemism to remember:

    "I can assure you, I am not looking to get laid! I am conducting a geo-social exploration!"

    1. Mr Young
      Thumb Up

      Re: Geo-social exploration

      Ye - upvote from me. Hmmm - maybe these guys should go for a book! Maybe something like 'getting out mums basement for dummies Vol 1' or whatever?

  20. David 155

    privacy settings

    I dont use facebook but you would think that the default setting for this 'checking in' rubbish would be to display to friends only, just what is the point in making that information public? If the default is to friends only and they've changed it to public then i think those users are very naive.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me cynical, but I'm damned sure that were it Google or Facebook doing the same thing, there'd be a Reg comment frenzy of indignation and outrage.

    Google (inaccessibly to he public) hooks search to + and Youtube with information you give the underlying services the way they were meant to be used, and people are innocent victims; random Russians put you on a map as a blinking light with 'Hot Piece of Tail' written under it, and people are just idiots for using the underlying services the way they were supposed to be used.

    Personally, I have accounts on YouTube, +, and gmail, and no account on facebook, foursquare, or a no-strings nookie radar application. And I'm ambivalent about these issues whether I use the services or not. In the end, I think it comes down to disclosure and transparency: Lay out the TOS in an obvious way, written understandably ("We sell your information to everyone. How do you like your new TV?) then OK. Automatically switch settings without notification? Not OK.

    And if you're pushing the boundaries of companies' API policies? Well, you pays your money and you takes your chances. You're playing in their sandbox, and they can tell you to shove off if they want to.

    The moral for the developers: Have another (non-controversial) app waiting in the wings to capitalize on the traffic generated by all the hoopla.

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