I’m currently in a very rural area, and it pinpointed to my exact location.
Because there’s no address anywhere near 100 feet of me, anyone can find exactly where I am. I’m not closeted and don’t generally feel threatened here.
But for any homophobe or sociopath to be able to anonymously determine how to get to my front door or window is very disturbing…
Now, why would knowing someone’s location be a problem? Sometimes you just don’t want everyone knowing where you live, especially strangers you chat with online.
Second, sometimes you value your anonymity because you’re not “out.” Many gay people are not out of the closet, either because they just aren’t comfortable having everyone know they’re gay, or because they live somewhere where it’s not safe being gay (such as Russia, Africa, certain parts of America, etc.) They could also be a minor who’s not out to their parents.
Many Grindr users give permission for their to be known to other Grindr users – and I emphasize “general.” Depending on the options the user selects, the app will show the distance in feet, meters, miles or kilometers between the user and any other nearby users. Note that while Grindr tells me the person is 2 miles away, I get no additional information as to where they’re located, so I really have zero idea where the person actually is.
The wildly popular gay dating app “Grindr” is facing accusations that a glitch in its system is giving away the actual location of its users to anyone with a Web connection.
The charge, first reported by NDTV — which I tested and found to be accurate — is that someone not even signed in to the phone/tablet application can find the location of any Grindr user to within about 100 feet.
Among the locales in which gays were detected by my test of the security breach: Turkey, Jordan, the British House of Commons, and the DC headquarters of the Republican National Committee.
(Update: Using the Grindr security glitch, I just found three gays in Kampala, Uganda; and a colleage found two inside the Russian state Duma (parliament), and one inside the Kremlin itself.) (Update: The security glitch has now exposed the locations of nearly 200 gay men in Iran, a country in which gay men are hanged.) Grindr has responded, claiming that the ability to identity the location of its users isn’t a security flaw, but rather, something they intended all along.
I can’t even guess what town he’s in, as there are probably 3 towns within that distance from where I am: of the other user.
Thus, while you know that he’s 1,000 feet away, he could be north, south, east, west, or anywhere in a 360 degree arc; making it impossible to know where he actually is.