I live in a very homophobic country and I'm afraid my state's police will eventually get unleashed and start prosecuting LGBT people for engaging in "criminal offenses" only because they identify as LGBT and want to hook up. They don't do it currently, or rather I haven't known of any case when people got punished with real prison terms. Unfortunately, being an LGBT person, I have to use dating platforms showing no sign of care about their users's privacy. They require full-fledged set of information about the registrant including government-issued ID, commonly known as mobile phone number. As you can see, I don't trust those people who care only about profits from data mining. I must use their services because there are no alternatives

Has it already happened that an LGBT dating site released information upon request about one of its users to a government of homophobic country so it can prosecute or harass their citizens? Note that I talk about data requests to service providers through subpoenas. I am not interested in cases in which dating sites users voluntarily shared their data to everyone who has access to the dating platform as registered user. Consider that dating platform's owner and servers located outside those homophobic countries.

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    Whether a government can successfully subpoena an internet company vastly depends where the latter is based, whether it has any physical presence in the country in question, like a branch or office, and which government we're talking about. I think this is not really a law question, at best a law enforcement one, with too many unknowns as stated to answer more precisely. Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 17:22
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    A quick search suggests that even if the site might not release such info, little prevents government agents from running an entrapment/sting operation on it middleeasteye.net/news/… Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 17:30
  • You perhaps should beware of undercover police officers going on a date to collect evidence.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


The basic legal principles are as follows. First, a government may pass a law criminalizing an act, for example this Ugandan law which penalizes homosexual acts, their attempt, and aiding and abetting same. Second, a government has the subpoena power to compel a party to provide evidence to be used in a criminal prosecution, unless there is some specific restriction enacted in the country – I find no applicable restrictions in Uganda. In principle, the government could subpoena records of an internet service, in order to find violations of the law.

Enforcement of the subpoena is relatively simple within the country, but enforcement against a website in Norway, for example, would be virtually impossible, in that Ugandan courts do not have authority in Norway and Norwegian courts will not recognize such an order. Uganda is not a party to the Hague Service Convention, so the Norwegian courts will simply not consider the subpoena.

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    Even if both countries are part of the Service Convention [you mention], the recipient country can reject the request (article 4). It just has to provide a justification. Norway would e.g. invoke the ECHR protections for LGBT under their interpretation of human rights conventions. Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 18:51

If being homophobic is in the nature of a government, and in the nature of a majority of voters (irrelevant in a dictatorship) then they can change laws according to their prejudices. So they might not be able to subpoena such a dating site successfully today, but they may be able to change laws so that it is possible in the future.

Note that many western governments had homophobic laws in the past, which means it would possible to them to create homophobic laws again, except at this point in time they wouldn't get support from their voters. In 1950 there were no LGBT dating sites, but if there had been, I'm quite sure there would have been subpoenas.

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