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About sharing image copyrightGetty Images Some of the most popular neeting dating apps, including Grindr, Romeo and Meetlng, have been exposing the exact location of their users. In a demonstration for BBC News, cyber-security researchers were able to generate a map of users across London, revealing their precise locations. This problem and the associated risks have been known about for years but some of the biggest apps have still not fixed the issue. After the researchers shared their findings with the apps involved, Recon made changes - but Grindr and Romeo did not. What is the problem?
These include: only storing the first three decimal places of latitude and longitude data, which would let people find other users in their street or neighbourhood without revealing their exact location overlaying a grid across the world map and snapping each user to their nearest grid line, obscuring their exact location How have the apps responded?
What is the problem?
However, he said the app creates a unique problem for those trying stop using drugs. Inresearchers demonstrated it was possible to locate a target by surrounding him with several fake profiles and moving meetiny fake profiles around the map. It is enabled by default in "80 regions around the world where same-sex acts are criminalised" and all other members can switch it on in the settings apo. The legislation, passed in the early days of the internet, is known as one of the most important tech industry laws.
Here's an example.
Location sharing should be "always something the user enables voluntarily after being reminded what the risks are," she added. But over time, digital platforms geared toward LGBTQ men have also created a more convenient way for gay and meetiny men — a population that disproportionately uses illicit substances due to social stigma, discrimination and other minority stressors — to find drugs, and for drug dealers to find them.
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Grindr is the world's #1 FREE mobile social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people to connect. It said: "Historically we've found that our members appreciate having accurate information when looking for members nearby. In meetimg, you don't even have to leave the house to do this.
We all know how it works; the home screen. Under U. They also found that Grindr, Recon and Romeo had not fully secured the application programming interface API powering their apps.
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However, those who use the app say it is still home to a robust market for illicit substances. This is not enabled by default. It also lets members hide their distance in the settings menu. The only app to confirm it had taken steps to mitigate this attack was Hornet, which told Mfeting News it randomised the grid of nearby profiles. Researchers from the cyber-security company Pen Test Partners created a tool that faked its location and did all the calculations automatically, in bulk. The company also said premium members could switch on a "stealth mode" to appear offline, and users in 82 countries that criminalise homosexuality were offered Plus membership for free.
Chat and meet up with interesting people for free. There have been several examples in the past few years of men being arrested for selling illicit substances through the app.
About sharing image copyrightGetty Images Some of the most popular gay dating apps, including Grindr, Romeo and Recon, have been exposing the exact location of their users. One of those men is Harold Gondrez, 67, a bisexual man from Manhattan who was arrested in July after selling crystal meth to an meetiny New York Police Department officer he met on Grindr.
Gay men have so many great/sometimes problematic apps to choose from — Mweting, SCRUFF, Jack'd, Hornet, Adam to Adam. Despite the many gay dating apps through which he could potentially push his product, Mike, the New York drug dealer, said he exclusively uses Grindr. BBC News also contacted two other gay social apps, which offer location-based features but were not included in the security company's research.
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Its website incorrectly claims it is "technically impossible" to stop attackers trilaterating users' positions. You can draw a m ft radius around your own location on a map and know he is somewhere on the edge of that circle. Are there other technical issues? Recon told BBC News it had since made changes to its apps to hay the precise location of its users.
Mfeting security company told Grindr, Recon and Romeo about its findings. However, the app does let users fix their location to a point on the map if they wish to hide their exact location.
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After the researchers shared their findings with the apps involved, Recon made changes - but Grindr and Romeo did not. According to data from the U. Scruff told BBC News it used a location-scrambling algorithm. Grindr users discreetly reference crystal meth by putting a diamond emoji in their profile, and gsy emojis are used to get the attention of those looking to purchase cocaine. However, it is still possible to trilaterate users' exact locations in the UK. Most meting the popular gay dating apps show a grid of nearby men, with the closest appearing at the top left of the grid.
If you then move down the road and the same man shows up as m away, and you move again and he is m away, you can then draw all of these circles on the map at the same time and where they intersect will reveal exactly where the man is. There are several ways apps could hide their users' precise locations without compromising their core functionality.
And queer women. The researchers were able to generate maps of thousands of users at a time. And if that information is accurate, their precise meetiing can meefing revealed using a process called trilateration. Grindr is so well-known as a gay dating and hookup app that even straight people have heard of it.
Several also show how far away individual men are. Most of the popular gay dating and hook-up apps show who is nearby, based on smartphone location data. Related Topics.
At first I asked him if he was a cop, and of course he said no. What is the problem? Ethan said he fears the prevalence of drug promotion on Grindr and other gay dating apps has led to complacency within the LGBTQ community when it comes to illicit drug use — meetin meth.
Are apps making it harder for gay men to date?
Like all websites and apps, the gay dating platform is protected by Section of the Communications Decency Act of This problem and the associated risks have been known about for years but some of the biggest apps have still not fixed the issue. It leaves their users at risk from stalkers, exes, criminals and nation states," the researchers said in a blog post.
Then two weeks after the last sale, a whole team of police officers came to my apartment to arrest me. Romeo told the BBC that it took security "extremely seriously". There is another way to work out a target's location, even if they have chosen to hide their distance in the settings menu.
Hornet told BBC News it snapped its users to a grid rather than presenting their exact location. Department of Health and Human Services, 1. In a demonstration for BBC News, cyber-security researchers were able to generate a map of users across London, revealing their precise locations.
Imagine a man shows up on a dating app as "m away".