Girl of 15 on sugar daddy site

Girl of 15 on sugar daddy site

Organisation: The Sunday Times (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 04/05/2017


Description links young women with 'sugar daddies' willing to pay for their company. It markets itself to students but claims to have a strict over-18s policy. Using computational techniques, the Sunday Times managed to track down girls as young as 15 on the site, exposing a security flaw that revealed their home addresses, leaving them vulnerable to stalking and blackmail. Unlike most social media and dating sites, SeekingArrangement failed to remove crucial metadata from images uploaded by users. EXIF data is embedded in an image when it is taken, and includes the time, the make and model of the camera, and in some cases the exact location. Our investigation found location data in photographs uploaded by more than 1,700 British users, including at least 270 teenagers. The project was a collaboration between the Sunday Times Data Team, represented by Louis Goddard, and traditional news reporters Rebecca Myers and Robin Henry. We worked together from identifying the flaw to publishing the story on the front page of the Sunday Times, using a mix of computational and investigative techniques.
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