updated 11:15 am EDT, Sun April 1, 2012
Girl tracking app maker claims to support privacy
The developer of controversial girl tracking app Girls Around Me, i-Free, has issued a statement on Sunday defending the app. It told the Wall Street Journal that it withdrew the app voluntarily after the Foursquare block rendered the app inactive. The Russian firm argued that, despite a heavy marketing focus on messaging and tracking women, that there was a "serious misunderstanding" of what the app was meant for.
The company reiterated valid observations that it was getting data that was already public, such as check-ins and publicly accessible Facebook profile information. Other apps like Ban.jo and Sonar were doing the same, it said. It also denied mashing together different social networks' information.
Some statements, however, appeared to be somewhat contradictory. The app had been active for several months, i-Free said, but the company had been "planning" to limit the app to showing public places rather than showing girls' homes and other private locations. It didn't explain why the app hadn't been this way from the start. i-Free hadn't received privacy complaints, although the overt focus on male users likely meant that many women might not have seen any connection between unsolicited visits or messages and the iOS app.
The app writer did stress that privacy was a "serious matter" and would work to get back into good standing. It's not known whether Foursquare will reconsider the block, although it was implied the developer was trying to talk to Foursquare directly.
"We are working on providing all necessary comments and data to prove our good intentions," the company said. "We were (and are) making our best efforts to develop an app that fits user expectations without going beyond the restrictions of social networks."