“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” – Monty Python
“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. The secretive effort was the work of a Denver nonprofit called Catholic Laity and Clergy for Renewal, whose trustees are philanthropists Mark Bauman, John Martin and Tim Reichert.
The use of data is emblematic of a new surveillance frontier in which private individuals can potentially track other Americans’ locations and activities using commercially available information. No U.S. data privacy laws prohibit the sale of this data. Some of the men who are part of the Renewal project were also involved in the July 2021 outing of a prominent priest, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill.Via The Washington Post
The Denver-based 501c3 religious nonprofit (EIN 84-2182176) spent over $4 million buying up data mostly from Grindr, but also from Scruff, Growlr, Jack’d and OkCupid.
Renewal’s president, Jayd Henricks, confirmed the work in an op-ed on First Things:
“The purpose was simple: to love the Church and to help the Church to be holy, with every tool she could be given,” Henricks said — including “the darker side of technology. Trafficking in obscene content, and even criminal content, is a risk to the Church and her children,” he wrote of earlier “heart-wrenching wake-up” calls of grooming and abuse.