A recent report from Cult of Mac, about an app called "Girls Around Me" has made some shocking suggestions - the app imports data from Facebook and Foursquare to reveal the location of female members in the neighborhood of the app user, without the former's knowledge or consent.
Foursquare immediately cut off API access to the app and responded to Cult of Mac's privacy concerns with the following statement: "We have a policy against aggregating information across venues using our API, to prevent situations like this where someone would present an inappropriate overview of a series of locations."
By cutting of API access, Foursquare rendered the app useless and it was eventually removed from the store. However, it is unclear who removed the app - the developers or Apple.
Cult of Mac later confirmed the app was removed by Russian developer i-Free Innovations.
The app developer then retaliated, saying the app was being used as a scapegoat to tide over privacy concerns with Foursquare and Facebook. It was also added that the app had been designed solely to help identify popular social venues.
The app clearly poses serious privacy concerns, since developers use public APIs to access information. It is also a wake-up call for users, to ensure they have the proper privacy settings in place to avoid someone or something misusing their Facebook profiles.
Here is the excerpt from the developer statement released to Cult of Mac:
"Girls Around Me does not allow anonymous usage of the app. It is impossible to search for a particular person in this app, or track his|her location. The app just allows the user to browse the venues nearby, as if you passed by and looked in the window. The Girls Around Me user has to be registered in Foursquare and must be logged in this service to be able to see anything in Girls Around Me. The app Girls Around Me does not have access to user login and password, authentication is carried out on the social network side. Girls Around Me shows to the user only the data that is available to him or her through his or her accounts in Foursquare, and gives the user nothing more than Foursquare app can provide itself (when you browse venues around you in Foursquare, you can see how many people checked in there and you can see their profiles and photos, even contacts and social networks profile). The aim of the app is to make the usage of this data more convenient and more focused on finding popular and crowded venues. Girls Around Me has no ability to change, limit or expand information that is available to the user through his or her account in social network. Girls Around Me does not use any self-developed or third party services to search for extra information apart from the information the users share with others. Girls Around Me does not put together data from different social networks."