The developers behind the location data-reliant iPhone application "Girls Around Me" has fallen under fire this week for their usage of Facebook and Foursquare without permission. What this developer, i-Free, maintains is that their usage of Foursquare and Facebook data to locate females surrounding the GPS location of the user was a "serious misunderstanding." Facebook and Foursquare legal teams do not agree, and the app has been removed from the market temporarily while i-Free works out the details.
This application works with user data that was until this week already available to the user using the app, utilizing this data to provide a map of their surrounding area based on GPS check-ins of friends and associates of theirs. Foursquare has objected to this use of data noting that i-Free would have had to and should have asked for permission to use such data before allowing 70,000 users to download the app from the iTunes App Store. In a statement given to WSJ on the subject, developers at i-Free noted the following:
"We see this wave of negative as a serious misunderstanding of the apps' goals, purpose, abilities and restrictions. 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." - i-Free
The developer has also noted that they're still going to continue developing the application, with a re-release coming out with only data provided at "public venues" so that Foursquare will re-allow them permission to use data. They've also stated that they're working on an Android version of the app for release this year.