News

Grindr is sharing your HIV Status as well as other personal info!

According to extrapolated data from a research analysis, it has been revealed that Grindr is sharing your HIV status (among other sensitive data) with two other independent companies. This news has been independently verified by BuzzFeed News and confirmed by cybersecurity experts who analyzed data captured by the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF.  

Apptimize and Localyptics, the two companies in question, seek to help other mobile companies including Grindr optimize their apps. It’s been confirmed they receive private and personal information from Grindr profiles such as HIV statuses, “last tested dates,” and more.

According to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at SINTEF, the nonprofit that first identified the data breach, specific users and their HIV status could be identified because HIV information is sent together with other user data such as GPS location, phone ID, and email. Pultier specified that the HIV data on Grindr is linked with other information and it may be due to incompetence from some developers that happened to send along all information including private and personal data.

The app, which offers free ads for HIV-testing sites and debuted an optional feature that would remind users to get tested every few months, is now being called into question for how seriously it takes its users data.

SINTEF’s analysis also showed that Grindr was sharing additional user information like their precise GPS position, “Tribe” (meaning what gay subculture they identify with), sexuality, relationship status, ethnicity, and phone ID to other data collectors and advertising agencies. Some of which was sometimes shared via “plain text,” which can be easily hacked from outside sources.

“It allows anybody who is running the network or who can monitor the network – such as a hacker or a criminal with a little bit of tech knowledge, or your ISP or your government – to see what your location is,” Cooper Quintin, a senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told BuzzFeed News.

“When you combine this with an app like Grindr that is primarily aimed at people who may be at risk – especially depending on the country they live in or depending on how homophobic the local populace is – this is an especially bad practice that can put their user safety at risk,” Quintin added.

Under the app’s HIV status category, users can select from a variety of statuses, which include whether the user is positive, positive and on HIV treatment, negative or negative and on PrEP. The app also links to a sexual health FAQ about HIV and how to get PrEP in your local area.  

Following the disclosure of HIV status, questions are now being raised about Grindr’s privacy policy, which states:

“You may also have the option to provide information concerning health characteristics, such as your HIV status, or Last Tested Date. Remember that if you choose to include information in your profile, and make your profile public, that information will also become public.”

However, despite this, the average person may not comprehend or fully consider what they’ve agreed to when signing up. A few experts are now arguing that Grindr should be more specific in its user agreements about how its using their data.

“What the law regards as informed consent is in almost all instances uninformed consent,” Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, told BuzzFeed News. “I hope that one small silver lining here will be that users and citizens will realize that there are enormous loopholes in the privacy regime and that personal information is bought and sold freely on a global market.”

 

h/t: BuzzFeed

Amazon Employee Convicted for Beating Gay Co-Worker

On May 22, 2015, James William Hill III, approached a co-worker at an Amazon fulfillment center in Chester, VA and began to punch him repeatedly in the face. The victim, who was only referred to as ‘C.T.’ in reports, suffered a black eye, bloody nose, and other injuries to the face.

On that day, Hill was questioned by the human resource department and he was open about saying that he “felt disrespected by C.T. because C.T. was a homosexual; that he does not like homosexuals; and that C.T. deserved to be punched because he was a homosexual.” In addition, he continued by saying that gay people should expect to be assaulted for being gay.

Unfortunately, this incident didn’t fall under Virginia’s hate crime law because LGBTQ individuals are not a part of this law.

Due to this, the case was sent to the U.S. Attorney. After a several year process, Hill was just convicted of violating the Matthew Shepard Act and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which prohibits crimes based on bias against actual or perceived sexual orientation, among other categories.

Hill faces up to ten years in prison.

This Gay Weatherman's Naughty Snow Forecast Is Educational & Entertaining

I wish this guy was my weatherman!

Blaine Stewart is a weather reporter from Norfolk, Virginia who posted a funny weather report tweet today that you’ve got to see.

As the east coast is gearing up for an onslaught of snow, Stewart wanted to keep his fans and followers informed. On top of that, he also wanted to entertain them a little.

As LGBTQNation reports, while posting a picture of the expected incoming snow caused by “Snowpocalypse,” Stewart also decided to whip out a little joke about the amount of inches everybody would be getting.

You can probably imagine where this is going.

Unfortunately, it seems that Blaine Stewart later regretted that tweet as he has since deleted it.

Too bad.

But, while looking up Stewart we realize that he's a very funny guy. We might have to tune into his station more often.

Newspaper Prints Homophobic Slur In Writer's Byline

A reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press, Paul Gonzalez, who wrote an article about last-minute Christmas Shopping was the victim of a bad homophobic joke by another staffer. The writer's last name "Gonzalez" was changed to "Gayzalez" and after the words News-Press, the word "Faggoat" appeared. The story ran in the paper on Christmas Day, but the online version of the byline was not changed.

According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the Donald Katich, Director of Operations at SBNP issued a statement in response to the tasteless action:

In Monday’s News-Press, one of our employees changed another employee’s byline to reflect an offensive slur. The News-Press has taken immediate and swift action with this employee; we do not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace. We apologize to our readers.

Kitach also commented to SF Gate with:

It was a very poor decision made by an employee who is no longer in a position to make that same mistake. The employee is represented by the Teamsters. There is a process we are obligated to follow when it comes to discipline or termination. The employee is no longer in the building.

Gonzalez has been approached by various media outlets and has refused to go deeper than mentioning that he is not the one who made that edit to his byline. He has also not made any public comments on social media and has deactivated his Twitter account.

Unrelated: The News-Press is known for being the only California newspaper to endorse Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

Lesbian Couple Escapes After Being Kidnapped, Beaten and Raped

A lesbian couple that was locked in a basement at a home in Indianapolis says they were beaten, raped and left without food or water for days.

The whole thing sounds like something out of a horror movie--or CSI!

The couple visited the home on November 10th to do heroin, but things escalated when one of the women borrowed a car from one another woman, Melissa Richards, who became angry when her car was not returned quickly. The couple was bound with duct tape, thrown in a closet, beaten and raped.

Along with Richards, a group of three men, Kenneth A. Braswell, Thomas J. Bell, and Jose Nieves assaulted the couple and are facing 26 counts which includes rape, kidnapping, criminal confinement, possession of meth, and battery by means of a deadly weapon.

On November 14th, the women believed they were being taken somewhere in a car to be murdered. During this trip, the vehicle got a flat tire brought them to stop at a convenience store. The women asked to go to the restroom and while they were inside, the asked the store clerk to call the police and they locked themselves in the bathroom until they arrived.

At the crime scene, police found a large puddle of blood, two handguns, duct tape, a machete, a blanket and two cellphones.

The three men in this case are scheduled to appear for trial on January 22nd, while the woman has not been charged.

Don't do drugs, kids!

Gay App Marketing Shakeup

After recently announcing his resignation as VP of marketing for the classic gay hookup app Grindr, Serge Gojkovich and his mobile-focused marketing consultancy, the Zapamti Agency, have been selected by MISTER to help lead their marketing efforts.

MISTER is designed to offer users a mobile and web "community" with more of a respectful, grown-up feel. MISTER, which is a few years younger than
Grindr, launched in December 2012 and claims to have a user base of 1 million mobile and web members "who want something more than a hookup app,"
according to the company's website.

At MISTER, Gojkovich will be leading product and marketing efforts, helping to manage growth, working to establish MISTER as the app of choice for men typically 30 and older, and solidifying its position within the gay all marketplace, according to a news release. 

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What do you think instincters? Will you be huntng for "something more" on MISTER?

 

 

 

 

Image source

 

 

Breaking News: #SCOTUS Rules DOMA Unconstitutional!

Click image to enlarge | Photo by Bradford Rogne (bradfordrogne.com)

 

This morning the Supreme Court of the United State (SCOTUS) has ruled DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment!!!

The ruling states DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. The opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

What this means, in plain terms, is that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law—with regard to, for example, income taxes and Social Security benefits.

Link to the DOMA opinion here.