Security Flaw Reveals Exact Location of Grindr Users

A third party app has made it possible to pinpoint the exact location of Grindr users all over the world.

Queer Europe has released a report that explains how ‘F***r’ [censoring by GDI] uses Grindr’s API to give the live position of gay men to an accuracy of two to five meters. This is specific enough to know which house or which room of an office someone is in.

F***r is a free app that not only reveals GPS location, but also all of a user’s private data such as their HIV status and the date of their last HIV test.

It uses a technique known as trilateration, which measures a person’s distance away from at least three virtual points, as well as other Grindr users. The computer programme can automatically find 600 men within seconds.

Source: Queer Europe

The app is particularly dangerous as it could lead to homophobic harassment or assaults.

Grindr has blocked the geolocation function in countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as it may present a danger to users who face discrimination from authorities.

Egyptian police have been known to use the app to arrest members of the LGBTQ community, for example. However, geolocation is still open in oppressive countries like Ethiopia, Qatar and Turkey.

Engadget is encouraging Grindr members to turn off the tracking service on the dating app or in their phone settings.

Back in 2016, a Grindr spokesperson said: “Grindr takes our users safety extremely seriously, as well as their privacy – [The company is] working to develop increased security features for the app.”

The statement came in response to an accusation that certain gay dating apps weren’t protecting user locations.

Grindr faced serious backlash earlier this year for sharing the HIV status of men on their platform with third party companies.

Read the full Queer Europe report here.