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Hide Your Profile, Hide Your Life

Huffpost Hill called it “the most frightening iPhone app ever,” and I can’t say I disagree:

Girls Around Me is a standard geolocation based maps app, similar to any other app that attempts to alert you to things of interest in your immediate vicinity: whether it be parties, clubs, deals, or what have you. When you load it up, the first thing Girls Around Me does is figure out where you are and load up a Google Map centered around your location….

It’s when you push the radar button that Girls Around Me does what it says on the tin. I pressed the button for my friends. Immediately, Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area.

Handier yet for any would-be rapists, stalkers or pick-up artists, a simple tap on the photo of any of the Girls Around would bring up their Facebook profile, complete with whatever friends, family, interests, personal info and photos they hadn’t made private.

The good news is that hours after Cult of Mac wrote it up, Foursquare blocked the app’s access to their API, so it’s now more cautionary tale than actual danger.  But it’s a great reminder of the need to think about what kind of information we share with social media applications and how much of it we make public.  The scary thing isn’t that such an app did exist, it’s that it could exist.  Be safe out there, people.

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