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For example, the gay and bisexual male dating app Grindr lets users join a number of “tribes” representing different physical and sexual characteristics, such as “bear” (generally referring to larger, hairy men) or “geek”.
But other categories might try to describe more significant attributes that aren’t always clear cut, such as sexual health status, sexual interests or gender identity. In 2017, there were two high-profile cases in the UK concerning what could be described as sexual “fraud”, involving defendants found to have deceived their partners about their gender and HIV status, respectively.
Both cases drew on a detailed selection of digital evidence, taken from dating and social networking app profiles.
And digital evidence does not offer a complete solution to this problem.
Before criminal trials start to rely on the newer features of dating apps, such as sexual health history and HIV status categories, we need to come up with a way to ensure judges and juries understand how nuanced this evidence might be.