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Foursquare agrees to share check-in data with Gnip, promises it's anonymous


Foursquare is putting your check-in data to use through its new partnership with Gnip, a service that aggregates social media APIs. Gnip has similar deals with companies like Tumblr and Disqus, and it plans to provide Foursquare-sourced information to market and academic researchers. Blake Shaw, Foursquare's resident data scientist told Gnip, "I think this data can act almost like a microscope for cities." It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Foursquare's set out to share check-in data. A few months ago, the company took some flack for its data-sharing initiative allowing businesses to track their customers' activity -- despite the inclusion of an opt-out feature. This time, they're eager to clarify that the data accessible through Gnip is fully anonymized. Researchers will be able to see where and when check-ins were made, but the only user data attached will be a gender. So, Gnip will know that a female Foursquare user stopped by a specific Starbucks at 11:30AM, but that's all. Your data will remain as anonymous as it can be on a site devoted to broadcasting your every move.

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