A senior official with the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has resigned after allegations he used the gay dating app Grindr.
Roman Catholic Bulletin The Pillar claimed to have obtained anonymized data showed visits to gay bars and use of the location-based dating app.
The Reverend Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill was Secretary General of the Conferencee of the Catholic Bishops of the United States (USCCB).
The USCCB said it took the allegations seriously but that there were no charges of misconduct with minors.
"In order to avoid becoming a distraction to the ongoing operations and work of the conference, Bishop Burrill has resigned, with immediate effect, " he said.
The alleged pillar:
- the information he obtained, from a data provider, was "commercially available
- he had analyzed it to reveal "location data and usage information for each numbered device
- a mobile device " correlated " to Bishop Burrill and "issued application data signals " from Grindr
- iThe showed visits to ga bars there while Monsignor Burrill was traveling for business with the USCCB
A representative of Grindr told Hfrance.fr News that The Pillar message was "homophobic and full of unfounded innuendos ".
"The alleged activities listed in this unattributed blog post are technically impractical and incredibly unlikely to happen " they added.
The pillar did not respond directly to questions from Hfrance.fr but in a statement posted on twitter editor-in-chief JD Flynn wrote that the newsletter carefully considered the balance between privacy and the public interest and was "confident in our deliberations
The Washington Post, citing expert opinion, said that using data in this way was not illegal in the United States and "is likely to happen again ".
Andr es Arrieta of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for digital rights, told Hfrance.fr that the data should not have been available.
He said the availability of this kind of mobile app data was a symptom, "of an industry that puts profits before the privacy and personal safety of users ".
He pointed out a report from last year by the Norwegian Consumer Council which was critique of how Grindr and other apps have handled data-sensitive apps .
'Flag inequities '
Reverend James Martin, who advocates for the inclusion of LGBT people in the 'Roman Catholic Church, reported of his concerns on Twitter about what he called "espionage ".
Asking whether a priest or parishioner could withstand a similar scrutiny of his privacy, he said tweeted: "Who, in the end, would stay in the Church?
"As the psalmist wrote, 'If you, O Lord, were to mark iniquities, Lord, who could bear? '
Monday, the Catholic News The agency has indicated that she had, in 2018, declined an offer from a party claiming "to have access to technology capable of identifying clergy and others who download popular login apps, such as Grindr and Tinder, and locate their locations, using the internet addresses of their computers or mobi devicesthe ".