Creepy Mobile App Raises Fears of Stalking

| April 1, 2012

The story about the mobile application “Girls Around Me” went viral yesterday and creeped lots of people out (Foursquare subsequently pulled the API so that the app no longer works). There is no doubt that the images used, the truck-driver-style silhouettes super-imposed on a radar screen were creepy, but perhaps good marketing – to attract creepy guys I guess. The application’s online marketing ads were worse yet, suggesting using the app to find “chicks” and find out enough about them to stand a better chance at a romantic encounter.

screen shot millions of chicks check in daily

Some are going to connect the dots wrongly and think that the application is the issue, but the application only uses – albeit in a creepier than normal way – information and data that had was already out there. In other words, it just made the information people willingly shared available in an easy to use format, and in a way that overtly suggests using the program to stalk women. But the information was already there, and those that shared it either did so either knowingly or naively.

screen shot of faces on google mapHow you share your information is up to you. For some, sharing your every location and personal information is effective marketing – if done professionally and with regard for consequences. For others, it might not be so safe to participate in public self-tracking. The message is to be informed and aware of how transparent and visible you make yourself, and to whom. The Girls Around Me application didn’t hack any information, it simply gathered what was publicly shared and made use of it in a way that seemed demeaning and perhaps threatening. “Chicks” shouldn’t be targets of a “hunt”, and this app is creepy.

Tags: ,

Category: News & Advocacy

Comments are closed.