A group of conservative Colorado Catholics has spent millions of
dollars to buy mobile app tracking data that identified priests
who used gay dating and hookup apps and then shared it with
bishops around the country. [...]
One report prepared for bishops says the group’s sources are data
brokers who got the information from ad exchanges, which are sites
where ads are bought and sold in real time, like a stock market.
The group cross-referenced location data from the apps and other
details with locations of church residences, workplaces and
seminaries to find clergy who were allegedly active on the apps,
according to one of the reports and also the audiotape of the
Sherman said police departments have bought data about citizens
instead of seeking a warrant, domestic abusers have accessed data
about their victims, and antiabortion activists have used data to
target people who visit clinics.
But Bennett Cyphers, a special adviser to the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a digital rights organization, said the Burrill story
was the first time he had heard of a private group buying
commercial data and using it against a specific individual.
Makes me wonder how often this technique is being used to blackmail people. This group was targeting gay priests to out them; they could have just as easily blackmailed them.