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Homosexual hookup app begins issuing warnings to Egyptian users

Last month, Egypt’s government hired an online security firm for extensive monitoring of internet communication on various social platforms

Published: Updated:

With arrests of Egyptian homosexuals on the rise, mobile phone-based hookup app Grindr has begun issuing warnings to users based in the North African country , with rumors swirling that such communications are under surveillance by authorities, U.S. current affairs site The Daily Beast reported on Saturday.

Last month, Egypt’s government hired an online security firm for extensive monitoring of internet communication on various social platforms such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported.

See Egypt, a reseller of a U.S.-based firm, has already started monitoring Egypt's online communications after winning the contract this summer.

According to See Egypt’s CEO, Ali Miniesy, the program and training being offered by the systems engineering company will be able to “penetrate WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, or other programs if needed.”

The measures have led Grindr, which promises to help users find “gay, bi, curious guys for free near you,” to issue pop-up warnings in English and Arabic to Egypt-based users of the software.

In response to the apparent digital crackdown, Egyptian homosexuals and supporters in late September began using hashtag #stopjailinggays to protest the new measures, according to The Daily Beast.

Upcoming verdict

In September, eight men were arrested after a “gay marriage” video went viral on the Internet. An Egyptian court is set to give its verdict on Nov. 1.

Homosexuality is not specifically banned under Egyptian law, so the men were charged with “inciting debauchery and offending public morality,” which could see them jailed for three years.

In the last year alone, Egyptian police have arrested more than 80 for allegedly being homosexual or transgender, according to non-profit group Human Rights First.