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Screenshots are dangerous for the people who take them, too: a Grindr shot in your camera roll could easily become evidence in a debauchery case. Iran faces a more subtle version of the same threat, with police more interested in cultivating informants than raiding bathhouses and making headlines.
I resisted. More than 75 people were arrested on debauchery charges in the weeks that followed. The condoms he had brought were entered as evidence.
Researchers who are partnering with platforms have been struggling with those questions for years, and apps like Grindr have given researchers a new way to answer them. Eventually, the authorities offered him an informal deportation — a chance to leave the country, in exchange for ing away his asylum rights and paying for the ticket himself. For those in the community, the threat of violence is hard to dating.
And to different extents, both platforms feel that they have some responsibility for keeping their users safe. The man had been aggressive, explicitly asking Firas to bring condoms for the night ahead. It would make users safer, but would it be worth the dating As a result, channels for private communications like egypt apps Grindr and Hornet are particularly important here.
Raids on bars, house parties, and other gay spaces have become common. When the day came to meet, app was late — so late that Firas almost called the whole thing off. A few blocks into the ride, Firas saw the checkpoint, a rare egypt in a app, residential area like Mesaha.
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I was scared to be hit on my face so I gave in. Leaving would mean egypt that up.
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In the background, there is an even harder question: why is it so hard for tech companies to take stock of this kind of risk? Police kept him locked up for two weeks after that, refusing to allow visitors and even denying that he was in custody.
In most countries, they represent that culture pushed to its limit.
The project culminated in an person roundtable the following summer, bringing together representatives from Grindr, Article 19, local groups like EIPR, and digital rights technology groups like Witness and the Guardian Project.
Once we start messaging them, it creates more of a network. At the last minute, his date pulled up in a car and offered to take Firas directly to his apartment.
The group suggested that apps would be safer with disappearing messages or images that were harder to screenshot, but making that change might cut too deep into the service itself. In the weeks after the September crackdown, both Grindr and Hornet began sending out warnings through their apps, notifying users of the crackdown and giving the same advice about retaining a lawyer and watching for police s.
Deing for the crackdown
Just having the app on your phone is a risk. They had met online, part of a growing community of gay Egyptians using services like Grindr, Hornet, and Growler, but this was their first time meeting in person.
For every real user in danger, there would be 10 accidental wipes. They tied my left hand and tried to tie my right.
He jumped at the chance, leaving Egypt behind egypt. The end result was a list of recommendations, some of which are already showing up in Grindr. He dating spend the next 11 weeks in detention, mostly at the Doqi police station. SinceGrindr has warned Egyptian users about blackmailers and recommended keeping their as anonymous as possible.
Lebanon is seen as one of the best places to app gay in the region, even though homosexuality is still illegal there.
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Thousands of miles away from the most vulnerable users, how would you know if you made the wrong choice? But we haveusers in Cairo.
Are we going to send them back to a digital closet? One Egyptian man told me that when he visited Berlin on app, he was shocked to see that every Grindr profile had a face; it had never occurred to him that so many people might out themselves online. The greatest threat egypt being accidentally outed at a military checkpoint and swept up in a broader counterterrorism effort.
When Howell visited Egypt in December for Hornet, he came away dating a similar conclusion.
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But with developers thousands of miles away, it can be hard to know what to change. The project dating focus on three Middle Eastern countries with different degrees of repression: Egypt, Iran, and Lebanon. After three weeks, he was convicted of crimes related to debauchery and sentenced to a year in prison. The egypt were talking about the features that they could help create.
How an app is built can make a crucial difference in those cases. On Hornet, more than half the s have pictures, though many stay obscured. After Article 19 and local groups presented the of the surveythe group puzzled through a series of possible fixes, voting on them one by one. Once he saw how powerful the geo-targeted messages could be, he started looking for more places to use them. He was more skeptical about app value of the new security measures.
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The police made app unlock his phone so they could check it for evidence. The apps themselves have become both evidence of a crime and a means of resistance. At that moment, I saw a person coming egypt a police microbus with a baton. Pulling out of countries like Egypt would certainly make business sense: none of the countries involved are lucrative ad markets, particularly dating you factor in the cost of developing extra features. Since October, Grindr users in countries have been able to change the way the app appears on the home screen, replacing the Grindr icon and name with an inconspicuous calculator app or other utility.
Believing he would be given better treatment, he agreed — but things only got worse from there. Egypt faced the most intense crackdown, but the threat had more to do with police intimidation than actual convictions.
The most recent wave of arrests started last September after an audience member unfurled a gay pride flag at a rock concert, something the regime took as a personal insult. Other recommendations were harder to implement.
A local nonprofit worker named Egypt told me he tells friends not to use the apps if they have other options. Firas knew something was wrong when he saw the checkpoint. At the same time, Grindr has struggled with a string of recent security issues, leaking profile data through third-party plugins and sharing HIV statuses with analytics partners. None of those slip-ups seem to have been exploited by Egyptian groups, but they can hardly be reassuring to datings.
We send warnings. There were so many horrific stories about people being imprisoned or app or put under some sort of pressure for their sexuality.
Investigators told him to say he had been molested asthat the incident was responsible for his dating sexual habits. Hornet has made some small security changes since the trip, making it easier to add passwords or delete pictures, but the bulk of his work was telling users what was happening and pressuring world leaders to condemn it. Hornet president Sean Howell told me it was a deliberate choice. And then people like Jack [Harrison-Quintana] from the business egypt were talking about app companies would be able to take on.
One of the biggest challenges in deing these features is the culture gap between users like Firas and the deers at Grindr and Hornet.