There's A Grindr Serial Killer: App Crimes Are Real and Terrifying
A number of recent incidents are causing us to reconsider double taps, and swipe rights, and making us nostalgic for the quainter days of hailing a cab. This past December, a woman in New Delhi was kidnapped and raped by her Uber driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav. Today, a Grindr serial killer awaits the verdict of his trail after a series of murders. Social apps are beginning to give us nightmares.
In a horror film hitchhiker nightmare, another Uber victim – who wishes to remain anonymous – was held hostage, beaten and sexually assaulted by her driver. She filed charges from California last December, blaming the incident on the franchise’s priority to supply drivers over sound background checks and passenger safety. Yadev, who is a repeated sex offender, apparently gave fraudulent information that slid between inattentive hands in the application process.
Today, Yadev was finally found guilty of the charges and awaits his sentence, which could wager up to a lifetime in prison. Prosecutors are pushing for the maximum sentence, and we’re not about to argue. The atrocity is unfortunately only the latest incident in a long list of incidents involving Uber and Lyft.
In other scary social app news, there is a serial killer stalking and scrolling the feeds of Grindr –we’re warding caution to the queer. The app user, a 40 year-old man from London, allegedly lulled 20-something year olds from the site and drugged them with GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid), the famed “date rape” drug. Going under the name Stephen Port, the culprit murdered four men in East London between June and September of this past year. Today, Port appeared in court in the first of a number of hearings set for this week. As the trial plays out and the story unravels, we hope to see some justice brought to the devastated families of the four young men. The spat of violence, emerging suddenly and in such a brief period of time, has the community and app users alike considering the security we sacrifice for efficiency.
Between Uber and Grinder, the devastating consequences are a wake up call. At the cost of easy meets and easier transportation, we forgo privacy. App companies need to readily address these issues, and take greater measures to protect their users. The happy medium between anonymity and safety is a precipitous balance, and in light of these recent sex crimes, the scale seems to be tipping towards violence. Thankfully, apps like Callisto and Stop & Frisk Watch are standing up against crime, providing a needed semblance of relief.
Callisto, recently adopted by some universities in northern California, has Tinder-like functions with totally different motives. Rather than matching users based on mutual interest, Callisto matches users based on common sex offenders. If an offender is reported by one user and has a previous cited reputation on the app, authorities are automatically alerted. The app makes time-stamped records of attacks and victims, and mounds evidence against offenders. When nearly three quarters of sexual assaults are going unreported and one in five female college students are victims, an app like this could be a tool to finally curb and report attacks.
The ACLU-created app, Stop & Frisk Watch, also functions to catalogue criminal information and stack up the data against very specific offenders – the police. The app lets users record and automatically report police brutality to the ACLU. All video content is automatically saved before phones can be taken or tampered with.
Check out the Callisto site for more information about the motives behind the app, how to donate, and awesome opportunities to get involved. Both Callisto and Stop & Frisk Watch are available for iOS and Android.
Images via Huffington Post and Animal New York