Top 4 Tips To Stay Safe On Grindr
Grindr is one of the most popular dating apps for gay and bisexual men, with millions of users worldwide. The app was launched in 2009, so it has been around longer than Tinder. Since then, Grindr has completely transformed the gay scene. Its goal is to provide men in the LGBT community with a safe (dating) platform where users can view profiles of people in their neighborhood, exchange messages and potentially find a partner.
Most of the time, online dating goes well, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the potential privacy risks that can be encountered with dating apps like Grindr. Far be it from us to cause a panic or to prevent people from using these dating apps. But we want to ensure that you (and other users) can be protected in terms of privacy.
Caution is advised, especially in some countries where the laws are not as lenient towards the LGBT community as ours. Unfortunately, many still discriminate against others based on their sexuality, making these security measures necessary. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about staying safe on Grindr.
1. What are the risks of Grindr?
For most users, Grindr is a platform on which they can reveal themselves without shame since it is intended for gay people, which is a huge relief for some, especially in a world where many still judge two men holding hands. Unfortunately, a small group of people with unsavory intentions are using Grindr for their purposes. This can create risks for your privacy and well-being.
2. Other users can know your location
In order to get the most out of Grindr, you need to be geotagged all the time. The program uses your GPS and Wi-Fi to find your Grindr “matches” in your geographical area. However, Grindr, like other popular dating apps, has several loopholes that allow strangers to know where you are. For example, in great detail, the app shows how far away your matches are. In 2014, cybersecurity researchers Synack discovered that Grindr users could easily exploit this information to discover the location of other users.
Grindr addressed this issue by allowing users to disable the sharing of geolocation data. However, a follow-up study by Trever Faden showed that cybersecurity researchers could still track Grindr users’ locations and other personal data, even when location data sharing was disabled. That’s because that location data is still sent to Grindr’s server, where it remains available and can be found by anyone.
Faden created a site where users could identify who was blocking them on Grindr. To discover this information, users only needed to enter their Grindr username and password. As a result of Faden’s study, Grindr restricted access to the data of users who blocked others. In addition, Grindr encouraged users not to use their Grindr credentials to register on other sites.
3. Information about your health can be revealed
There is an additional risk to your privacy when using Grindr, and this one involves your personal data. For a while, the company shared confidential data, including sensitive health information about its users. In April 2018, Grindr was exposed in a bad light following the revelation that the company was sharing users’ HIV status, as well as their location data and email addresses, with other companies.
Grindr representatives initially defended the practice, saying that data sharing was widespread and that users consented to this sharing when they signed up for the app. However, many Grindr users were unaware that this information about their health was being shared. If Grindr users choose to disclose their HIV status, this information is visible to any Grindr user who goes to their profile. Yet many users did not expect the app to share this sensitive information outside Grindr.
4. Using Grindr abroad
Dating on vacation can be a fun way to bond, but it’s best to be careful. If your home country is open to the LGBT community, don’t expect all other countries to be as well, as this is not always the case. Grindr automatically updates your location every time you activate the application. As mentioned before, this can be dangerous in many places like Algeria, Nigeria, Barbados, India and Pakistan. All these countries have policies that ban homosexuality by making it illegal.
Similarly, in some countries like Russia and Egypt where homosexuality is still legal but punishable by law. In Egypt, a popular tourist destination, the government has ordered the beating and imprisonment of several people who arranged a meeting via Grindr. Young Firas was one such victim: he had planned to go on a date with a boy he met on the app but ended up being framed, beaten, jailed, and convicted of “debauchery,” which is a crime under Egyptian law.
Then always check the local laws of your destination and the country’s openness regarding homosexuality. The annual state-sponsored homophobia research reports written by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association) can shed some light on this. At the bottom of this article, we have summarized the countries where homosexual acts are considered illegal.
We advise you to review this list and do some additional research carefully so that you don’t accidentally find yourself in a country like Egypt with your Grindr app activated. Also, even though many countries fully accept homosexuality legally and culturally, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. People with bad intentions can try to use Grindr in ways that are harmful to members of the LGBT community. That’s why it’s always important to protect your identity and your privacy as best as possible, even when using a dating app.
Sound off in the comments section below, and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about staying safe on Grindr.