'Tube crush' website featuring photos of 'attractive' men on London Underground sparks privacy row

Hatty Collier, Alexandra Richards
Privacy row: The website has sparked a backlash: TubeCrush

A “Tube crush” website where passengers secretly capture and rate photos of men they find “attractive” while riding the London Underground has sparked a privacy row.

The TubeCrush.net site asks commuters to send in photos of “good-looking” men that they have spotted during their journeys across the capital.

But the online platform has sparked concerns over privacy, while other critics have called out the site for sexism towards men.

Steve Motion, the website’s founder, defended the concept and said that if a person asks to have their photo removed, there is a mechanism in place to enable them to do so.

He also said that "it is different in our society for a woman to have her picture taken compared to a man."

TubeCrush.net: Passengers are asked to submit photos of men they find

Privacy International PI Solicitor Millie Graham Wood said "Apps like TubeCrush may give the appearance of being innocuous and harmless. That is rarely the case where data is the new oil and we are the product."

He continued: "We note with serious concern that rather than address the very real and worrying privacy issues arising from this website and app, the privacy policy abdicates responsibility and fails to address the infringements on individual privacy. Further, they create an onerous process for individuals to remove their data."

Harry Janes, 23, was one of the men featured on the site. He said that he was informed about the picture by a friend of a girl he was seeing at the time.

He said: “To be totally honest I thought it was absolutely hysterical. I'm not particularly sensitive so it was really just water off a ducks back. It did make me question what else might be lurking on the Internet that you don't necessarily know is there though."

When asked whether or not he felt the picture was a breach of his privacy he said: “At the time, no, I thought it was funny. Looking back though, it’s incredibly creepy. I have absolutely no recollection of even where I was going the day it was posted, but the fact that it’s obviously been documented, posted and commented on I find slightly odd.”

One man who was pictured on the site described it as 'creepy' (TubeCrush)

He said that he thought that the website was controversial and that it would not be as well received if it “focused on the objectification of women on the tube”.

Mr Motion, Founder of Tube Crush said that if a person asks to have their photo removed there is a mechanism in place to enable them to do so.

"If someone wants their photo removed we will 100 per cent take it down." He said.

He also noted that since the site launched in 2011 he has had only 20 people request to have their photo removed.

On Twitter people were quick to call out the site for encouraging sexism against men.

Fortuna Copia wrote: “The non-consent aspect of your work is worrying. Why encourage? You're not exactly helping gender parity by reducing one gender to silent objects are you? Very counterproductive.

The ratings of men on your site are mostly negative too so not positive is it.”

One user wrote: “If Men uploaded pictures of Women to an app to rate their attractiveness; they would be slaughtered. Yet it’s okay for Women to do on this Tubecrush app? The World is losing it’s sense.”

Another man Tony Lauder said that he “didn’t see anything wrong” with the site and that it inspired him to go to the gym.