By DAMIEN GAYLE
Concern is growing over a ‘creepy’ new iPhone app which scours pictures posted by users’ Facebook friends to pull out all the photos showing them wearing revealing outfits.
On sale on the iTunes store for £1.49 ($1.99), the Badabing! app uses some sort of image-recognition technology to work out which of your friends pictures show the most skin.
Once the pictures have been discovered, users can then browse them all before bookmarking their favourites and sharing them with others.
The service is particular disturbing in light of recent claims by the Internet Watch Foundation that it had found more than 12,000 instances of girls who had posted seductive pictures of themselves that had ended up on pornographic sites.
Only weeks ago, Reddit troll Violentacrez was unmasked by Gawker.
He had posed many pictures harvested from Facebook onto forums entitled ‘Rapebait’ and ‘Creepshots’, sparking outrage on the internet.
On the website, he was also one of the driving forces behind the sickening ‘Jailbait’ forum, where users submitted sexualised images of scantily-clad underage girls – many of which also originated from Facebook. The users deleted photos of girls older than 16.
That forum was also taken down after a backlash by users.
The Badabing! app has the potential to allow paedophiles to accelerate the process of looking for pictures of under-dressed youngsters, a spokesman for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency warned.
‘There will always be a new technology or device or platform that can potentially be exploited,’ the spokesman said.
‘For CEOP that means two things, educating young people about staying safe online, including not posting inappropriate images which can send out the wrong message; and staying on top of the different technologies that offenders can use to network with other paedophiles or to contact children directly.’
Civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch said it provided a ‘stark warning’ about how users of Facebook and other social networks can lose control over data once it is uploaded to the internet.
‘Privacy is clearly at the very back of the designers mind when creating an application that enables this kind of search to be easier when it, in fact, it should be made more difficult,’ said Emma Carr, the group’s deputy director.
‘All too often there appears to be the attitude online that services can ignore directives on the “minimum collection of data” and “privacy by design” which should no longer be tolerated by internet users or the data protection regulators.
OUTRAGE FORCES FACEBOOK TO REMOVE ‘BIKINI JAILBAIT’ PAGE
A shocking page called ‘Bikini Jailbait’ has been removed from Facebook after it caused outrage among users of the social network.
The site pictured many graphic pictures of seemingly under-aged young women in various states of dress. Some are bending over suggestively.
One person wrote on the page’s wall that the site was ‘wrong on so many levels,’ and begged other like-minded users to report the site.
It is unclear who created the page. A representative for Facebook told MailOnline that the page had been removed although he would not comment on individual cases.
‘Such practices are quite simple intrusive and unnecessary and, as such, consumers need protection from contracts that are either too intrusive or too unclear to understand.’
So far available only for the iPhone, its creators also plan a web-based app which would allow users to login via a website to search their Facebook contacts’ picture albums.
A reporter for TechCrunch downloaded the app and tested it out on his Facebook profile. ‘It actually kind of works and it’s really creepy,’ Drew Orlanoff reported.
The Badabing! homepage boasts that the service can help users to ‘find your friend’s (sic) sexy pics instantly.’
It includes testimonials from friends of the app’s creator, Erick Barto. Mr Barto’s roommate, John Moses, said: ‘This is going to save me so much time diggin’ through pics.’
However, the app developers admitted they were struggling to cope with demand, and some users complained they were unable to connect.
‘it is the sheer traffic, and image processing is very resource consuming,’ said Mr Barto.
‘We are working on it and trying to get it back up as soon as possible, we had requests for millions of images within hours and our db couldn’t handle it.’
Those commenting on the TechCrunch report on the app were less enthusiastic about the service. Bob Walker wrote: ‘Creating apps like this is just plain wrong.
‘If people put these pictures online then it is their choice… but it is just very weird.’
Suzanne Lenhart said: ‘Even without Badabing (bad app) I’m sure some pretty creepy people get online & cruise around hunting for just exactly what this app is now doing for him, and making it far too easy.
‘Evidently all the porn that is flying all over on the web isn’t enough to keep them happy.’
MailOnline put some of the concerns raised to Mr Barto. He said: ‘We are the only social image recognition app and “beach and pool pics” is our first search option, which we knew would be popular.
‘People have thousands of pictures on a myriad of social networking sites, the purpose of Badabing! is to help friends find specific type of content quickly.’.