#privacy

Oregon Man Arrested For Recording Guys Pleasuring Themselves In Public Bathrooms

Next time you use a public bathroom, you might want to check to see how much privacy you really have.

An employee of Oregon State University has been accused of recording unsuspecting men who were indulging in a bit of ‘self-love’ in a public bathroom stall.

According to the Albany Democrat-Herald, Andres Lazaro Lopez was arraigned this past Monday on a felony count of first-degree invasion of privacy and two misdemeanor counts of second-degree invasion of privacy.

The college website lists Lopez as a Student Success Assistant Coordinator.

The incident apparently took place in a sixth floor men’s room at a university library last May.

Lopez allegedly utilized a pencil-sized hole in a bathroom stall wall to record men with his phone who thought they were masturbating in private.

After being reported to the Oregon State Police, a search warrant was obtained to seize and search Lopez’s phone last August.

Lt. Craig Flierl, the commander of the OSU division of the Oregon State Police, told the Democrat-Herald that the peek holes had been repaired.

“The university didn’t waste any time in preventing that from happening again,” said Flierl.

Lopez pleaded not guilty during his arraignment this week and his lawyer, Joshua E. Hunking, claims his client’s actions may have been ‘misinterpreted.’

In fact, Hunking appeared to assert that the incidents were ‘consensual.’

“Cruising has sprung up as one way that gay men can engage in consensual sex interactions while attempting to avoid social and criminal judgement for those innately human acts,” Hunking told the Democrat-Herald in an email.

“I encourage the general public to reserve judgment in this case as we work toward a resolution.”

Lopez is scheduled to return to court on February 11.

(h/t Albany Democrat-Herald)

High School Officials Break Into Bathroom Stall Being Used By Trans Student

A video posted to social media appears to show school officials breaking into a bathroom stall as a transgender high school student is using the bathroom.

According to The Daily Dot, the student originally posted the video to their social media but it has since gone viral. Her name isn’t being used as she’s apparently a minor.

The one-minute video, shot from the student’s perspective inside the stall, shows a crowbar or broomstick being used to reach over the door of the stall and unlatch it.

As this is happening the student says, “I’m using the bathroom, and look at them; I’m using the bathroom and they just violated me!”

“I am so scared and violated right now. They just walked in the bathroom while I was using the bathroom for no reason.”

The video was shared on Twitter by activist Kenidra Woods. Watch below.

 

“I’m not personally in touch with the student, but in her video, she asked for people to share it far and wide,” Woods told the Daily Dot. “So, I made it my priority to share it because it infuriated me to my core. No one should be treated in the manner she was treated.”

While it’s possible there’s more to the story, it is difficult to believe that prying open a bathroom stall door on a student is the best possible approach to this situation. The officials or hall monitors couldn’t wait until the student exited the stall?

The issue of bathroom use by transgender students has been in the news frequently in recent years, especially since the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era policies that recommended transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom that aligned with their gender identity.

The student apparently posted follow-up videos to Facebook which appeared to identify the school as Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, Minnesota.

According to The Daily Dot, school officials have not commented on the video.

The story becomes more complicated as LGBTQNation reports someone who claims to be the sister of the student took to her Facebook to criticize the trans student’s actions.

In the sister’s post, misgendering the trans student throughout, the sister says the trans student has “a bathroom of [their] own to use whenever [they] wants to use it because [they] doesn’t feel comfortable using a men’s bathroom[…] because other girls won’t feel comfortable.” She also says her sibling had been in the bathroom for "like, an hour."

The sister later posted a message from their mother consistently referring to the trans student with male pronouns while claiming to fully support the student being transgender.

The mother goes on to write that the trans student “doesn’t realize is that [she’s] not the only one who has been effected by all [she] has done in the last 24hrs and the rollercoaster [she] brought us on.”

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UPDATE - The principal of Osseo High School has issued a statement saying "no students were barred or banned from using any bathroom at Osseo Senior High."

Dear Osseo Senior High families:

I am aware of social media posts that significantly misrepresent an incident that occurred at school on Nov. 28. It’s important for you to know that no students were barred or banned from using any bathroom at Osseo Senior High.

I sincerely wish I could say more, but for data privacy reasons, I cannot provide details about a situation involving a specific student.

What I hope you already know is that we work every day to create an inclusive school where students feel welcome and respected. Our staff regularly works with individual students and families who have varying needs, including needs related to identity.

I also want to assure you that staff intervenes in the use of restrooms only in situations such as the following:

  • Concern about the safety of students, staff or community members
  • Illness or health-related issues
  • Suspected illegal activity

Respectfully,

Michael Lehan

Principal, Osseo Senior High

(h/t The Daily Dot)

Is Grindr Usage Putting You At Risk? Shocking Video: People Can Find Your Exact Location.

Grindr is amazing.  It gives you the ability to see that you are not the only person lin your town looking for a quickie, excuse me, a date. In most major cities in the nation, you can see three to five pages of men less than 900 feet away.  Some Grindr users do not wish to have their distance from you shared, which is their own choice for whatever reasons, but don't we just look at the man before and after him and guess his distance? Now picture yourself in a nation where being gay is illegal and the punishment is death. Do you think it would be benificial to have your location shared?

Grindr removed the distance location feature back in 2014 but soon reinstated it after receiving user complaints (September 2014 Grindr Reinstates Distance Feature On App).  Was this a good idea?  I am sure 'Merikans thought so, but what about users in other nations?

September 2014 Grindr Warns Egyptians About Risks Of Using The App, we shared:

Grindr was under criticism this summer for a design feature that might allow the network to be used to pinpoint the exact location of users. The English-language Egyptian publication the Cairo Scene published a story on September 2 that said Grindr was a primary tool for these schemes, but the story included no evidence of documented cases and human rights activists in Egypt say they know of no confirmed cases of entrapment through Grindr or other social media applications designed exclusively for mobile phones.

Other apps have worked with certain regions of the world to protect app users in our November 2017 Exclusive Interview with Coley Cummiskey: The Man Behind the Creation & Success of GROWLr, we learned of his work with protecting GROWLr app users.

One of the main things we do is that the app has the option to hide your location.  That’s not just on the profile but behind the scenes, too. If you select that option, there will be no internal data regarding your location, no latitude, no longitude, nothing. We are used in some of those nations that are using the apps to track down people.  We had a gay advocacy group from the Middle East work with our app to identify and establish safety measures. They actually traveled to me here in Seattle to meet.  It was so important to them and we definitely worked with them and were excited and honored to do so.  It was a great experience. And the Middle East is one of our more popular areas.

That interview was shortly after October 2017 when we posted: Egyptian Authorities Are Using Grindr To Lure & Arrest Gay Men and then in April 2018  Grindr is sharing your HIV Status as well as other personal info!

What is the status of Grindr user location information?   Take a look at this horrific video shared on QueerEurope's Twitter account that made my jaw drop.

Earlier in the year it was revealed that a security flaw made it possible to determine not only the location, but also the HIV status of Grindr users. Months down the line, Grindr is still exposing the precise location of its users by failing to block third-party access to a private API.

Using a trilateration technique, and exploiting the fact that Grindr lets users know -- with some degree of accuracy -- how far away they are from others, it is very easy for just about anyone to build a tool that shows precise locations.

...

The Grindr API allows unofficial apps like Fuckr to make 600 API request every second, making it possible to quickly track the locations of numerous people. But more than this, it is also possible to cross-reference the Grindr database and pull up a huge amount of information about users, all of which can be posted on an interactive map. - QueerEurope.com

Imagine that guy that you just cannot shake from another app finds you on Grindr and physically hunts you down. Imagine the police using this in anti-LGBT nations to hunt down fellow queer folk.

Definitely check out more at QueerEurope.com as they go into more detail about how to triangulate Grindr users. 

Does this make you feel safe? 

h/t  :  betanews.com, QueerEurope.com

Scruff's CEO Talks About Two Major Alterations to the Hookup and Dating App

The Advocate has shared excerpts of an email from Scruff’s CEO and cofounder Eric Silverberg about two major changes that just hit the site.

Since August 17, the app no longer features programmatic advertising (third-party ads that target users via data provided by the app), and the app no longer requires you to provide your race/ethnicity.

According to The Advocate, Scruff’s advertising will now incorporate partnerships with “LGBTQ nonprofits, health, and advocacy groups, as well as lifestyle and travel companies.”

“Scruff members can be assured that their data will be used only to help them meet and connect with other guys,” Silverberg told the mag, “not to target shady advertising for products or apps nobody would want or use anyway.”

“Though this decision will cost Scruff revenue in the short-term, we believe it is the right long-term decision because it creates the best experience for our community.”

The E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect in May 2018. This made programmatic advertising “impossible” in Europe, says Silverberg. "It didn’t feel ethical for us to hold U.S. [and international] users to a different, arguably lower standard of privacy than E.U. users.”Your Scruff account and your Facebook account can’t communicate anymore, either. Silverberg told The Advocate that this is because of the controversy surrounding Facebook data and the 2016 presidential election.

It sounds like Scruff is doing what needs to be done to steer clear of the kind of poor publicity that Grindr has been experiencing. Grindr, the most popular gay hookup app, has been in all kinds of hot water this year— for poor security, the sharing of users’ private info with third parties, the fact that in some areas it’s basically just a market for crystal meth… the list goes on.

Scruff has over 12 million members in 180 countries. By comparison, Grindr is available in 192 countries, and has amassed over 27 million users worldwide.

For more about the new changes to Scruff, as well as Silverberg’s thoughts on Grindr’s new “Kindr” initiative, head over to The Advocate.

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