Gay Egyptians Worry the Government Has Been Using a Hookup App to Track Them

Grindr: tool of the state?


Insert lengthy Foucauldian analysis here.

From the your-tool-of-liberation-might-be-turned-against-you files, here's a development in Egypt, where the regime's regression to police-state status has included a crackdown on gay men. Activists claim that the government has used Grindr, a gay hookup app, to locate and incarcerate men seeking sex. (If so, the pleasure police there are more sophisticated than their counterparts in Turkey, who simply banned the app.)

Here's a Cairo Scene report from August:

A source close to the gay and lesbian community claims that the apps are putting the country's homosexuals in danger.

"It's a bad system right now," he said. "There have been a number of arrests in the last few months linked to these applications. They are using technology to triangulate the location.

"It is possible to tell a user's position within a few hundred metres, and many users include personal pictures, making them easily identifiable to cops."

Evidently the folks at Nearby Buddy Finder—yes, that's what the company is called—were listening. Yesterday The New York Times reported that Grindr has "disabled the feature that discloses how far other users in Egypt are."

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  1. I wonder what kind of man would volunteer to go on gay patrol?

    1. They are men who, like us all, ponders the problem of sodomy.
      They wake in morning and meditate on sodomy.
      They eat their mid-day meal and pray for the sodomites.
      Sodomy on their minds.

  2. “The President has maintained that this crackdown is neither Islamic, nor a crackdown. No God would condone the tracking of innocent gays.”

    There, I saved you having to listen to the State Department’s 2-weeks-from-today’s response. So don’t say I never did anything for you.

    1. You forgot the part where they blame it all on a Youtube video.

  3. Gay Egyptians Worry the Government Has Been Using a Hookup App to Track Them

    And that is like the only app available in Egypt to gayfully hookup, right?

  4. A source close to the gay and lesbian community claims that the apps are putting the country’s homosexuals in danger.

    I’m just going to throw this one out there and say that being gay in a Muslim country would put any gay man or lesbian woman in danger. Just sayin’.

    1. The issue is partly that exact locations were supposed to be unavailable without you actively sending them, but a security hole in Grindr specifically (which is the oldest and most universally popular of these apps) allowed for exact GPS coordinates to be pulled with little effort (once the exploit was made public). Previously you could only crudely triangulate location based on multiple handsets and approximate distance. This is still possible with other location aware apps, but distance is rounded on most of them whereas Grindr will indicate how many feet away someone is once you get under a mile.

      There are a bunch of variants, but just like straight dating sites if you don’t have enough people on them they’re pretty useless.

  5. Foreign types with the hookah pipes say

    Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh

    Gay like an Egyptian

  6. They seem to be putting as much effort into meeting up with gay dudes as the gay dudes themselves. It’s a weird obsession.

    1. If you let them have sex, they’ll want to get married and sue bakers and photographers.

  7. Wow. It’s terrible that in this day and age people still think it’s OK to do these kinds of things. It’s like, where’s the empathy? It makes me wonder if it’s not something we actually have to teach humans for them to get it.

    1. The US is more gay-friendly than the likes of Egypt for a number of reasons but I would put “teaching” way down on the list.

      1. The US Has been making good progress with states slowly legalizing gay marriage and such, but we still have a long way to go. I agree though, it seems like the only reason we’re making any headway is because people are talking about it more. Maybe not because our leaders are actually learning per se.

        1. A long way to go? Seriously?

          I’m all for freedom and marrying whomever you want. But the gay lobby has gone way overboard, doing things like suing people who won’t deal with them on account of objections to their lifestyle. They’re not simply demanding parity at this point; they’re actively working to abrogate the rights of conscience of others. Yeah, in my opinion, you’re kind of a dick if you won’t deal with gays, but so what? Criminalizing it or making it the subject of fines is much worse and makes the supposed victim into an even bigger assface.

  8. Gay Egyptians Worry the Government Has Been Using a Hookup App to Track Them

    I remember making a similar comment about the general lack of homophobia in this country due to the very existence of these apps.

    Not many got my point.

    It looks like Egypt sure got it.

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