Activist/commentator Scott Long reports from Egypt:
This week saw the first absolutely confirmed case of police using the Internet to entrap accused LGBT people. The story hasn’t been reported in the Egyptian press: meaning the government may be hoping to arrest as many as they can without alerting possible victims. That’s frightening. (Available in Arabic at http://paper-bird.net/2015/06/12/egypt_internet_entrapment/):
We now know that police in Egypt are definitely using phone apps to entrap people they suspect of being gay or transgender. Recently a man was arrested when he went to meet someone who had contacted him on the Growlr app; his “friend” turned out to be an undercover policeman.
Protect yourself! The safest thing you can do is to delete your profile completely from personals sites and apps. If you don’t want to do this, follow these precautions:
1) Do NOT arrange meetings with strangers you only know through the Internet. Apps like Grindr, or Internet personals ads, are not safe. Even if you have long chats with people you know through Grindr or other apps, and they seem real, they may be using tricks to fool you. You could be arrested as soon as you arrive at the meeting place.
2) Police are using the things people post on the Internet — including their personals ads — as evidence against them if they are arrested. NEVER post any face pictures of yourself. Do NOT post your real name, or any information that could be used to identify who you are. If you use a nickname, make sure nobody could trace it back to your real identity.
3) Don’t post your phone number online, including in personals ads, because it can be used to track you. If you need a phone number to meet people through these ads, get a separate, unregistered number without a contract.
4) Remove anything that could be incriminating – including revealing pictures of yourself, or embarrassing videos – from your computer or your phone, in case the police seize them.
5) Please download an encryption program, to put everything on your phone in a secret code so that no stranger can read it. These programs can also encode your chat, texts, and voice calls, so that outsiders can’t intercept them. You can get these encryption programs for free:
- If you have an IPhone, download Signal here.
- If you have an Android phone, download Boxcryptor here. It’s also available forWindows computers here.
- Or, if you have an Android phone, you can download TextSecure to protect your texting, and RedPhone to protect your voice calls.
Click here to read extremely important information on your legal rights. Remember, if you are ever arrested:
- Don’t admit to anything, or sign a confession or anything else.
- Always insist on talking to a lawyer.
- Don’t talk about anybody else who is gay or trans, no matter how much pressure the police put on you – even if the police show you pictures of people!
Please spread this message to your friends. Also remember: in the crackdown that has been going on for almost two years, neighbors have been reporting people who are “ladyboys,” or gay, or trans, to the police. Wherever you live, be quiet in your home and be as discreet as you can in public places.
- Crackdown in LGBT Egyptians: 77 arrests since October (76crimes.com)
- Egypt: New legal guide for LGBT communities; please share (76crimes.com)
- Tweeting today really can help LGBTI Egyptians (76crimes.com)
- Crackdown on LGBT Egyptians: Why now? (76crimes.com)
- How ‘debauchery’ law set up Egypt’s gay crackdown (76crimes.com)
- Slew of arrests in Egypt (76crimes.com)
- Egypt’s LGBTI crackdown continues; what can be done? (76crimes.com)
- This blog’s archive of articles about Egypt
- This blog’s archive of articles by or about Scott Long