Egyptian police use gay dating apps to jail and prosecute "moral transgressors"
Police and blackmailers in Egypt are using gay dating apps like Grindr, Hornet, and Growlr to find targets tor arrest and imprisonment while the developers who can make changes are thousands of miles away and struggle to know what to change to protect their users. In a typical story, a target finds a friendly stranger on a gay dating site, and only find out when they eventually meet that the contact has been building a debauchery case. Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but the el-Sisi regime has been using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat, and the General Directorate for Protecting Public Morality is being used to jail and prosecute those perceived as transgressing. Between October 2013 and March 2017, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights documented more than 230 LGBTQ-related arrests. Since 2014, Grindr has recommended that Egyptians keep their accounts as anonymous as possible and doesn't list precise distances for Egyptian users; local LGBTQ groups advise not keeping screenshots on phones or in the cloud where they might be accessible to police, designating an attorney, and telling someone where you're going before meeting in case you get picked up by police.
Writer: Russell Brandom
Publication: The Verge