A website devoted to exposing the faces and registration numbers of people in gay cruising areas has disappeared following a PinkNews.co.uk investigation.
Earlier this month, we exclusively revealed that the website, cruisingscene.co.uk, was publishing the uncensored images, raising concerns over privacy and data protection.
PinkNews.co.uk cannot ascertain why the website has disappeared but understands that it was removed after our report.
GX Networks, trading as 123-Reg, is the company which processed the domain name registration. It declined to comment.
The anti-cruising website is currently under investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Set up to raise awareness of the “disgusting” practice of gay men meeting for sex, it focuses on the Haldon area of Devon, near Exeter. Local residents have previously complained about finding used condoms and tissues in the area.
It warns: “All over the country there is a disgusting underground world that most decent members of society have little or no knowledge of. This world is one where outwardly heterosexual men with wives and families at home go out ‘cruising’.
Several PinkNews.co.uk readers voiced their concerns about the website. One reader, who wished to remain anonymous, told us the site was “vile” and “homophobic”.
Stephen Loughrey of Carter-Ruck, a law firm which specialises in libel and privacy law, told PinkNews.co.uk: “In my view this is a gross invasion of the privacy of the people whose photographs have been published. The activity being reported upon here is consensual sex between adults. While it is distinguishable from the circumstances of the [motorsport boss Max] Mosley case (in that the activity being reported upon is happening in public), there is no public interest in publishing unpixelated photographs showing the car number plates and faces of those purportedly engaging in this activity.
“Although the individuals involved may not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while engaging in the activity, they have a legitimate and entirely reasonable expectation that photographs of them doing so will not be published to the world at large.
“While the activity may potentially constitute a minor public order offence (if for example local people have raised complaint), the degree of the intrusion into the private lives of those pictured is not proportionate to the public interest supposedly being served by the publication.”