Readings — From the October 2017 issue

Here Comes Everybody

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From a complaint filed in March in a New York district court against Grindr, a dating app. The plaintiff, Matthew Herrick, alleges that vulnerabilities in Grindr’s geolocation feature allowed his location to be shared without his consent, and that the company failed to take responsive action to abuse.

In October 2016, Plaintiff’s recent ex-boyfriend began using Grindr to impersonate Plaintiff. Impersonating profiles contained photographs of Plaintiff and accurate descriptions of Plaintiff’s height, weight, ethnicity, body type, etc. Grindr’s geolocation directed strangers to Plaintiff’s home and work addresses, and direct messages were used to arrange sex dates. From October to the present, between one and sixteen individuals per day showed up at Plaintiff’s home and workplace expecting sex. On January 17, during a four-minute time span, six different men visited Plaintiff at work. Grindr’s direct-message feature was used to precondition these visitors to expect Plaintiff’s resistance as part of an agreed-on rape fantasy or role-playing. One visitor stood outside Plaintiff’s door, insisting that Plaintiff had just communicated with him on Grindr urging him to return. Individuals have banged on the window of Plaintiff’s roommate, demanding access to Plaintiff. Men have shown up sweating profusely, and have entered Plaintiff’s apartment building and refused to leave. On one occasion, a man high on drugs who visited Plaintiff’s home became hostile and aggressive when asked to leave. He had to be escorted away by the police. The same man returned another day.

Before this, Plaintiff was living a quiet and low-key life. He worked at a restaurant to pursue a career in acting and modeling. Now photographers are afraid to work with Plaintiff. He dropped a sponsorship with a South African touring company. His colleagues resent the sketchy, dangerous, and unwanted visitors. Plaintiff is afraid to walk his dog alone at night. His life is constantly interrupted to inform strangers that, no, he does not want to have sex with them.

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