The first sentencing has been handed down in a Texas case centered on the use of Grindr (a geosocial networking mobile app geared towards gay and bisexual men, designed to help them meet other men in their area) as a platform from which to perpetrate hate crimes. Nigel Garrett was given 15 years yesterday after pleading guilty to a list of crimes including assault, carjacking, and use of firearms, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reported.
Garrett, and three others confessed in August to having arranged on the dating app for gay men to meet victims at their homes in several Texas cities, where they would tie them up, brutally assault and rob them. The accomplices await sentencing (the maximum is life).
Somewhere, the tech world is responsible for these crimes because they are very much enabled by technology. While of course assaults against people because of their race, sexual orientation, religion and so on are obviously possible (and frequent) even without the aid of an app, something like Grindr exemplifies the risk of having that information accessible instantly to anyone.
On the other hand, the nature of the apps also means that there is a whole lot of evidence in a case like Garrett’s that the crimes were targeted at a specific population. There’s no doubt that these men targeted people of a certain sexual orientation, as there might be in a street assault.
“Hate crimes are violent crimes, but also attack the fundamental principles of the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General, John Gore, in a statement in August. Those principles are increasingly being tested and abused online, so it’s good to see these digitally-enabled crimes pursued aggressively.
All possible digital clues, such as app and phone records, was no doubt crucial to building a strong case, and will be in more and more investigations going forward. We’ve asked Grindr for comment on what if anything it can do (or has done) to prevent crimes like this or aid in their resolution.
Notably, this case was pursued by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which has been attempting to crack down on hate crimes recently.
more recommended stories
TechCrunch has learned of a potentially serious new bug affecting a wide range of Apple device
TechCrunch has observed of a strong.
MIT researchers are working on a latest steering system for drones
MIT researchers are working on.
Uber is preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singaporean ridesharing company
Uber is all set to vend.
Don’t upgrade to the latest OS X until it’s been patched a few times
A wise person once stated, “don’t.
Tesla’s Model X is possibly the best functioning SUV
Tesla’s Model X is possibly the.
World’s best-shipping smartphone model over the holiday season
Apple has not been typically transparent.
Snap is introducing the capability to share certain public Stories through links
There is no getting around the.
Xiomi’s much awaited IPO process has finally kicked off
Xiaomi’s much awaited IPO process.
Ireland High Court Denies Facebook’s Plea to Stop Legal Questions
Facebook’s effort to obstruct a.
Line Ventures leads $4 Million funding for e-commerce startup iPrice
iPrice, recently scored a new.