Grindr Shuts Off GPS Function in Anti-Gay Countries

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Monday September 8, 2014

Officials from the ultra popular gay hookup app Grindr have disabled its distance/GPS function in countries with anti-gay policies just weeks after an anonymous hacker revealed last month that Grindr had a glitch that exposed the exact locations of its users.

According to Gay Star News, users who use Grindr that have a history of anti-gay violence, including Russia, will no longer be able to use the app's location feature after reports came to light that claim authorities in these countries were using Grindr to hunt gay men.

Besides Russia, the change impacts Grindr users in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and more. Gay Star News reports more countries will be added to the list.

"In light of recent security allegations surrounding a user's specific location, Grindr is taking measures and will be releasing updates to keep users secure in territories with anti-gay legislation," Grindr officials told Gay Star News.

Grindr officials previously said they did not view the glitch as a security risk, however. In a message to Pink News, the app officials said:

"For Grindr users concerned about showing their proximity, we make it very easy for them to remove this option and we encourage them to disable 'show distance' in their privacy settings. As always, our user security is our top priority and we do our best to keep our Grindr community secure."

Last month, a hacker warned Grindr users about the issue, stressing those living in anti-gay countries should be weary.

The issue comes after a number of troubling cases involving Grindr. Last week, two men from the U.K. were sentenced for blackmailing men via the app. Additionally, a Seattle man is accused of using Grindr to identify two murder victims. In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old Grindr user was allegedly killed after meeting someone on the app.

The news also comes after a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit against Grindr, claiming he is the victim of negligence by Grindr that resulted in his being arrested for meeting up with an underage teen.