Gay dating app Grindr has come under fire for sharing information about users' HIV status or locations with two companies enlisted to optimise its software. Norwegian nonprofit research group Sintef uncovered Grindr's data sharing with two companies – Apptimize and Localytics – and concern spread in the US after BuzzFeed reported the findings. The Los Angeles-based dating company then announced it would stop sharing users' HIV status with third-party companies, BuzzFeed reported. Grindr's chief technology officer, Scott Chen, said sharing data with partners to test and optimise its platform was "industry practice", but sensitive data was encrypted when sent and vendors were under strict contractual terms to keep it secure and confidential. "Grindr has never, nor will we ever sell personally identifiable user information – especially information regarding HIV status or last test date – to third parties or advertisers," Chen said in a Tumblr post.
An error on the dating app Grindr allowed third party sites to access personal information. Tony Spitz has the details. Dating app Grindr, which serves many LGBTQ users, admits it has been sharing users' HIV status with third-party companies. Grindr says it will stop sharing user data, including HIV status, to two other companies, after concerns the disclosures violated consumer privacy and undermined public health efforts. The gay dating and social networking app, which counts over 3 million daily active users, said Tuesday it would no longer share users' HIV status with app optimization company Apptimize and is discussing how to remove data from Localytics.
Grindr, the world's largest gay dating app, has been providing private information about its users, including their users' HIV status, to a number of third-party companies, according to a report from BuzzFeed. The report found Apptimize and Localytics, two firms that help optimize mobile applications, have received potentially sensitive information from Grindr that could be used to identify a specific user. Dating app Grindr has been sharing its users' HIV status with other companies. Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF first identified the issue after discovering that Grindr was sharing a wealth of user information with third-party companies. The information included user GPS position, "tribe" or gay subculture the user identifies with, sexuality, relationship status, ethnicity and unique phone ID.
Grindr's privacy issues may extend beyond access to data with a login. BuzzFeed News and Norwegian non-profit SINTEF report that Grindr has been sharing its users' HIV statuses (including their last test date) with two app optimization companies, Apptimize and Localytics. As that data is attached to info like email addresses, GPS info and phone IDs, it's possible for an intruder to link specific people (beyond just their public profiles) to their health info. SINTEF also found that Grindr was giving ad companies an extensive range of data that users might not want to share outside of the app, including their gay subculture, relationship status and precise GPS locations. Some of this info was shared in plain text, too, making it relatively easy to swipe.
Grindr has a communication problem. The social networking app used by 3.6 million people has been doing more than simply facilitating hookups, and in the process has potentially put the privacy of its users at risk. According a report from BuzzFeed News, the company is sharing user data with two other companies -- data that includes email addresses, GPS data, phone IDs, and HIV statuses. Taken as a whole, this information could be used to determine the HIV status of individuals by name. After all, how many of you use some form of your real name as your email address?