Queer Voices

Grindr 'Tipster' Warns Users Of Gay Social App's 'Security Flaw'

An anonymous user has reportedly been sending messages to Grindr users in countries that have anti-gay legislation or are otherwise known to be hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens warning them of a "security flaw" within the popular social app.

Although Grindr is often used by gay men to meet other men discreetly, the tipster warns users that they could be targeted, persecuted or even murdered as a result of the app's location data, NDTV is reporting. The message includes links to a Twitter handle, YouTube video (which can be viewed above) and a Pastebin dump, according to the report.

"Officials at Grindr have been informed several times within the past months about these issues, which would seem to imply that the concept of 'social responsibility' is lost upon Grindr," the tipster, who is identified only as "a guest" on the Pastebin dump, writes. "Knowing that Grindr-Users in countries such as these are being put unnecessarily at a high risk should be reason enough for Grindr to change its system."

A Grindr spokesperson told HuffPost Gay Voices that the location data was not a security flaw. In addition, users who were concerned about the app revealing their proximity have the option to remove it.

"As part of the Grindr service, users rely on sharing location information with other users as core functionality of the application and Grindr users can control how this information is displayed," the spokesperson wrote. "As always, our user security is our top priority and we do our best to keep our Grindr community secure."

LGBT software developer Chris Ward praised Grindr and other geo apps for "revolutionizing" the way people were able to meet, nothing that they have "in many ways helped those in less gay-friendly areas meet those who are like-minded." Still, he was quick to add that "there is always a risk."

"The answer is simple," Ward wrote in a blog that was re-posted by Pink News. "If you don’t want somebody to know your location, don’t provide your distance or don’t use geo apps at all."

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