Priest unmasked via Grindr app shows widespread tracking of facts

An individual monitors the Grindr software on his cell phone in Beirut, Lebanon, May 29, 2019 (Hassan Ammar / AP)


Whenever a spiritual publication put information on a smartphone app to infer the intimate direction of a high-ranking Catholic official, it revealed an issue that went far beyond a debate on chapel doctrine and priestly celibacy.

With few US limits on what businesses can do with the vast amount of information they accumulate from web pages, apps, and location trackers built into cell phones, there is no big deal. – something to avoid spying on politicians, famous people and just anyone in the same way. who is the target of another person’s fascination – or meanness.

Citing allegations of “possible wrongdoing,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday announced the resignation of its top certified administrative, Bishop Jeffrey Burrill, ahead of a written report from Catholic television station The Pillar which polled its enchanting personal life.

The Pillar said they obtained information about the region “commercially available” from a vendor that they did not indicate was “correlated” with Burrill’s cell to verify that he had visited sites. Gay taverns and houses using Grindr, a matchmaking software preferred by gay people.

“Problems like this are only increasing,” said Alvaro Bedoya, the organization’s director for privacy and development at Georgetown Law School.

Privacy activists have long advocated for laws that would reduce these types of breaches, although in the United States they only occur in certain cases and then in different forms. Bedoya said Burrill’s sacking should push back the danger of this situation and should finally get Congress and the government to do something about it.

Privacy issues are often interpreted in conceptual terminology, the guy said, “when it’s actually ‘Can you check out your own sexuality without your own business pulling you over? “ Is it possible to now live serenely after an abusive union without worry? Many victims of abuse simply ensure that their own abuser cannot find them.

As a congressman in 2012, Bedoya passed legislation that will ban apps that allow attackers to covertly track the locations of their own victims using information from their smartphones. He had never been adopted.

“No one can claim it will be a surprise,” Bedoya said. “No one can say that he certainly was not informed. “

Privacy advocates have for many years warned that location and personal data accumulated by advertisers and collected and sold by brokers can be used to diagnose individuals, is not and should be. and may not be regulated by rules that require the clear consent of the person being tracked. Appropriate and technical defenses are crucial for smartphone users to rebel, they say.

The pillar alleged “serial intimate misconduct” by Burrill – homosexual activity is considered a sin in Catholic doctrine, and priests are required to remain celibate. The Internet publication’s websites present it as being focused on investigative news media that “can truly help the chapel serve its sacred mission, the salvation of souls.”

Its editors did not respond to the need for revision Thursday on how they acquired the information. The document mentioned that only the information came from one of the data brokers who aggregate and sell app forwarding data, and the book further contracted an impartial data consultancy to authenticate it.

Discover agents who charge thousands of 30 days for large amounts of information about the area, some of which is sold not only to traders but also to landlords, bail bondsmen and bounty hunters, said John Davisson, Senior Advisor at the Electric Privacy Conference. He said anyone who tries to “reverse engineer” a person’s data from this bulk plane can potentially get it from most data cycle visitors.

“It is surprisingly and worryingly inexpensive to get information about the sites from cell phones,” Davisson said. “It’s easy enough that a particular party can do it.”

US Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said the incident confirms as before the dishonesty of an industry that falsely claims to protect the privacy of phone consumers.

“Experts have long warned that the facts accumulated by marketing companies from the cellphones of people in the United States could still track them and display the quintessential personal information of these daily lives. Unfortunately those people were right, ”the guy said in a statement. . “Information agents and advertising providers lied to people, assuring them that the suggestions they had compiled were in fact unknown. Because this terrible event proves it, these promises have turned out to be false – individuals are followed and recognized. “

Wyden and other lawmakers asked the FTC a year ago to investigate the. Americans must “be stepped up and protected against these outrageous breaches of privacy, and Congress must adopt strong national privacy rules,” he added.

The Norwegian data privacy watchdog previously determined in 2010 that Grindr was sharing users’ private data with third parties without an appropriate factor and said it could demand a fine of $ 11.7 million ($ 100 million of Norwegian kroner), corresponding to 10% of the organization’s worldwide money Ca.

Data disclosed to ad technology providers for targeted ads included GPS location, account information as well as the simple fact that people were using Grindr, which could show their own sexual orientation.

Discussing these types of suggestions might make someone likely to focus, the Norwegian data security expert said. They argued that the Grindr Method asking people for permission to use their particular ideas violated the European Union’s requirement for “valid permission.” Customers have not had the option of choosing not to discuss the facts with the companies and are obligated to acknowledge Grindr’s online privacy policy in its entirety, they said, including the fact that customers do not were simply not effectively informed of the publication of information.

Ad enthusiasts to whom Grindr provided information with integrated Twitter, AT & T’s Xandr solution, as well as ad technology agencies OpenX, AdColony and Smaato, the Norwegian watchdog said. The research used a complaint from a Norwegian client who discovered similar fact leak issues in other important relationship software, such as OkCupid and Tinder.

In an ad, Grindr called Pillar’s report a “homophobic and unethical witch hunt” and said he “may not have thought” that he was the source of the facts used. The company said it has procedures and programs in place to protect personal data, although it does not specify when these are applied. The pillar mentioned the app facts they got on Burrill Sealed Items from 2018, 2019 and 2020.