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The Inevitable Weaponization of App Data Is Here (vice.com)
31 points by psychanarch 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments





This is a very poor article. Much better reporting can be found in the previously discussed article here (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27902214) or at the original source (https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/pillar-investigates-usccb-g...).

The article frames this as a priest being outed for his sexual preferences but that is a terribly warped perspective.

This priest, as all Catholic priests do, _voluntarily_ took a life long vow to abstain from any sexual relations. He was wantonly breaking that while hiding it from his community. Worse, he was literally on the committee creating regulations to discipline other priests for violations against that very same vow he was breaking. It’s always sad to see a man not live up to his own convictions, but this was a particularly egregious case of hypocrisy as well. It would have been much better for him to withdraw from public life once he knew he couldn’t keep his vows.

This is not an instance of an innocent man being outed. It’s a case of a man committing canonical crimes who got caught via anonymized location data. I am worried about some of the future implications as the article states, but what happened in this instance is a good thing.


This article elides over the specifics of the victim in question, or the Substack medium that had dove into his personal life, but it keeps the prime focus on the dangers of (meta)data collection being used to doxx individuals. I say that it succeeds on that front, while leaving the sordid details for those other articles to cover. The importance is the issue, of which this incident is but a case study.

> A Substack publication used location data from Grindr to out a priest without their consent.

Well, that's a very 2021 headline.

> The news starkly demonstrates not only the inherent power of location data, but how the chance to wield that power has trickled down from corporations and intelligence agencies to essentially any sort of disgruntled, unscrupulous, or dangerous individual.

I guess the problem with David Brin's sousveillance concept is that the average person is more likely to use these technologies to prey upon their fellows instead of pushing back against greater powers.

Doubtless that this is far from the first instance of "app data weaponization", just the first publicly disclosed one.


>I guess the problem with David Brin's sousveillance concept is that the average person is more likely to use these technologies to prey upon their fellows instead of pushing back against greater powers.

Classic Crab Mentality, no?


This story is really troubling to me. Partly for the outrageous homophobia of it. But also for the obvious privacy implications.

I'd love to read a detailed analysis of exactly what's in these data profiles and how it's collected. Various parties all claim they're not doing anything to enable this: Grindr says it doesn't collect precise location, Apple and Android have both been building more privacy stuff into their platforms over the years, etc. And yet someone's career was still destroyed by awful people who bought data from a broker. I understand in general how that could happen but a full detailed analysis would be fascinating.




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