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Dating apps can be wonderful for LGBT people in non-western countries, helping them to connect with the wider community.
But the same apps can also be tremendously dangerous, particularly when authoritarian states and vicious criminals start logging on.
These new technologies are being used for new crackdowns.
In the decade before the dating apps, and before President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in 2013, an average of 14 people a year were arrested in Egypt effectively for their sexuality. Hundreds of similar abuses have occurred in Russia, Lebanon, Iran, Uganda, Malaysia and Tunisia, among others.
But the minute they travel to a place like Dubai or Singapore, they’re at the mercy of local laws.
If they get into trouble, they’ll need to rely on the skills of the consulate to get them home safely.
Ironically, they have tried to treat everyone the same but this means that they seriously overlook the additional security needs of the community and have never, to my knowledge, done deep research about what the LGBT user might need, even in places with stringent anti-gay laws.” For veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, the solution is simple: “Dating apps should be posting regular warnings to users about the danger of blackmail, violence, sexual assault and public exposure – and how to better protect themselves.” But to implement his blueprint, apps would first have to assess the level of risk in the various geographical locations: a task that tech companies with relatively small workforces are instinctively reluctant to undertake.