A design flaw in the popular gay male dating app ‘Grindr’ that was discovered this week has been found to put the lives of gay Iranian men at risk.
The flaw, discovered recently by a European tipster, allows anyone with an internet connect to identify the location of gay men using the app.
It is thought up to 200,000 gay men across the world may already have had their location shared after the security flaw was discovered.
The app flaw is especially worrying for the hundreds of gay Iranian men who use the app. Under Iranian law acts of homosexuality are illegal and are often punished with extreme penalties, including execution.
A blog post on one American site revealed how easy it was to pinpoint the location of Iranian Grindr users, showing how individuals’ location can be discovered to within 100 feet accuracy.
The security breach allows anonymous individuals to find the location, profile picture and contact details of app users, leading many to be concerned that it will be exploited in order to persecute homosexual men in Iran.
Grindr was launched in 2009 and has users in 192 countries. The app is especially popular in countries such as Iran where homosexuality is outlawed or persecuted as a way safer way for gay men to meet each other.
LGBT organizations across the world are now advising users of the app to be aware of their security settings and the information they share, especially in countries like Iran where their lives may be at risk.