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'Girls Around Me' mobile app shut down after privacy concerns

Russian developer i-Free shut down its 'Girls Around Me' mobile app that used data from Foursquare after stalking concerns.

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(I-Free/Girls Around Me/Screengrab)

'Girls Around Me,' a popular app that tracks the location of women in your area, has been removed after controversy began to swirl about its potentially nefarious uses.

The app allowed users to identify women who have checked into places nearby and see public available information about them via data from Foursquare and Facebook, according to PC World.

The maker of the app, i-Free, defended the app in a statement after voluntarily removing it from iTunes.

"Girls Around Me does not provide any data that is unavailable to user when he uses his or her social network account, nor does it reveal any data that users did not share with others," read the statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.

"The app was designed to make it easier for a user to step out of door and hang out in the city, find people with common interests and new places to go to,” the statement went on to say.

The controversy started after an article on the website Cult of Mac, which said of the app, "It is as innocent as it is insidious; it is just as likely to be reacted to with laughter as it is with tears; it is as much of a novelty as it has the potential to be used a tool for rapists and stalkers."

The writer said that his test of the app found that a user could find out a vast amount of information about someone - not to mention where they were at any given moment.

According to the BBC, the app had been downloaded 70,000 times before it was removed from the iTunes store.

Forbes defended the app maker and said the controversy was overblown given that it assumed the men using it were stalkers and also assumed that the women using the app did not want that information to be publicly available.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/technology-news/120402/girls-around-you-mobile-app-shut-down-after-priva