The meat of Brownlee's piece isn't so much the nuts-and-bolts of how Girls Around Me works, but what seeing it in action meant to women who might have been concerned about online privacy in a theoretical way but had probably never seen in such plain terms what telling the Internet everything about yourself, down to your actual physical location, really means.
Wasn't there an app called "Where Da Women At?" or something like that that did this previously?
Why do you assume this application is necessarily for use by stalkers? What basis do you have for that other than fantasies concocted in your own mind?
Facebook needed to respond to this article yesterday. I'd say shame on Facebook, but they are pretty shameless, aren't they?
This takes completely unwitting participants and puts them in a rather odd position -- that of being tracked in a manner they weren't intending when they signed up for a service.
I've really tried to get my friends and relatives to quit with the Facebook stuff. For a while, I touted Google+ as an alternative, and while I still like it, now they're pushing me to "connect all your blogs, etc. to your Google+ account". I object in principle to that. Sometimes I choose to divulge less or more about myself in a given context, and I reserve the right to do that.
But the people using the services are just being in public and social. Those are actual Public Goods, public behavior that invites the society of others. That's how we build communities; that's how small businesses establish presence; that's how people construct lives which have meaningful human relationships in them.
but if you look on your Privacy Settings page, anything that says "Everyone" has access means ANYONE has access. They may be misusing your information, but accessing your information which is set to "Everyone" via the API is no different than someone looking at your public info and copying it down.
Other people are not objects for "obsessive nerds" to play with.
7) The issue here is not information asymmetry. It's involuntary, nonconsensual disclosure of information. The fact that it's asymmetrical is an aggravating factor, but not the core problem.
Nissenbaum gets us past thinking about privacy as a binary: either something is private or something is public. Nissenbaum puts the context -- or social situation -- back into the equation. What you tell your bank, you might not tell your doctor. What you tell your friend, you might not tell your father-in-law. What you allow a next-door neighbor to know, you might not allow Google's Street View car to know. Furthermore, these differences in information sharing are not bad or good; they are just the norms.
Does that really mean that if you, say, post a photo of you cuddling your new kitten and that photo is visible to anyone, that your local New Kitten organization can legally use that photo, without your explicit permission, to advertise how awesome their New Kitten service is?
So what you're explaining to me is that people are flipping their shit over a pick-up strategy that only works on television and romantic comedies?
Or are people are flipping their shit over Foursquare doing exactly what it says on the tin (publishing where you told it that you are) and Facebook doing exactly what it says on the tin (publishing that you're single, hot, and ready to party).
“So let’s say I’m a bro, looking to go out for a night on the town and pick someone up. Let’s say I’m going to the Independent around the corner, and checking it out ahead of time, I really like the look of this girl Zoe — she looks like a girl I might want to try to get with tonight — so I tap her picture for more information, see what I can find out about here.”
I tapped on Zoe. Girls Around Me quickly loaded up a fullscreen render of her Facebook profile picture. The app then told me where Zoe had last been seen (The Independent) and when (15 minutes ago). A big green button at the bottom reading “Photos & Messaging” just begged to be tapped, and when I did, I was whisked away to Zoe’s Facebook profile.
“Okay, so here’s Zoe. Most of her information is visible, so I now know her full name. I can see at a glance that she’s single, that she is 24, that she went to Stoneham High School and Bunker Hill Community College, that she likes to travel, that her favorite book is Gone With The Wind and her favorite musician is Tori Amos, and that she’s a liberal. I can see the names of her family and friends. I can see her birthday.”
“All of that is visible on Facebook?” one of the other girls in our group asked.
“More, depending on how your privacy settings are configured! For example, I can also look at Zoe’s pictures.”
I tapped on the photo album, and a collection of hundreds of publicly visible photos loaded up. I quickly browsed them.
“Okay, so it looks like Zoe is my kind of girl. From her photo albums, I can see that she likes to party, and given the number of guys she takes photos with at bars and clubs at night, I can deduce that she’s frisky when she’s drunk, and her favorite drink is a frosty margarita. She appears to have recently been in Rome. Also, since her photo album contains pictures she took at the beach, I now know what Zoe looks like in a bikini… which, as it happens, is pretty damn good.”
My girlfriend scowled at me. I assured her Zoe in a bikini was no comparison, and moved on.
“So now I know everything to know about Zoe. I know where she is. I know what she looks like, both clothed and mostly disrobed. I know her full name, her parents’ full names, her brother’s full name. I know what she likes to drink. I know where she went to school. I know what she likes and dislikes. All I need to do now is go down to the Independent, ask her if she remembers me from Stoneham High, ask her how her brother Mike is doing, buy her a frosty margarita, and start waxing eloquently about that beautiful summer I spent in Roma.”
So I’m writing about it now. Not because Girls Around Me is an evil app that should be pulled from the iOS App Store, or because the company that makes it — Moscow-based i-Free — is filled with villains. I still don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with what this app is doing, and the guys at i-Free are super nice, and certainly don’t mean for this app to be anything beyond a diversion.
Girls Around Me combines the best features of Facebook, Google Maps and foursquare! And with millions of chicks checking in daily, there’s never been a better time to be on the hunt…
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...
Browse photos of lovely local ladies and tap their thumbnail to find out more about them.
Girls Around Me is the perfect complement to any pick-up strategy. Send a sultry message via Facebook or turn up at the venue armed with flowers and a winning smile to sweep that special girl off her feet!
I'd agree with the unlocked door scenario, but I don't think it's good analogy for what's going on here. Much of the problem here is that it's *somebody else's house* we're leaving our information in. Heck, not even "in" -- we're putting it up on posters in the windows and on the outside walls.
Shoot, why stop with that characterization? After all, the app is probably also literally telling each of its users THESE LADIES WOULD NEVER SAY NO TO A TIGER LIKE YOU RAWRR AND EVEN IF THEY DID THEY'RE JUST BEING COY.
And I think we could all agree that's pretty bad. So maybe if we just make it clear how inappropriate *this* app is, we'll all be OK when somebody makes a much more tasteful app that combines facial recognition to bring up social media profiles. It'll just call itself Recognizr and won't sell itself as a tool for picking up on women, heck, everybody could use it... just something that'll tell you everything it can glean from public data on profiles when you see somebody. But not in a creepy way!
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