Y’all better be careful when y’all sign up on these dating apps because you never know what private information they’re sharing with other companies. The popular gay dating app Grindr says it will stop sharing user data, including HIV status to other companies after consumer concerns over privacy violations.
According to USA Today, the app, which has over 3 million daily active users, made the announcement Tuesday. The company said it would no longer share users HIV status with app optimization company Apptimize.
Acknowledgement of the data sharing, which Grindr security chief Bryce Case defended as “standard industry practice for rolling out and debugging software,” followed a report by Buzzfeed News — citing research from Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF — on the sharing of HIV information with users’ GPS data, phone ID and email, which could make it possible for the companies to identify sensitive information about specific users.
“There is a major difference between a company like Grindr sharing encrypted data with a software vendor to debug its app, and having it harvested from an outside third party like Cambridge Analytica which is not what is happening here,” Case said in a statement to USA TODAY.
What’s interesting about this is users apparently weren’t even given the heads up that their information was being shared with third-party vendors.
“Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status,” James Krellenstein, a member of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP New York, told BuzzFeed News. “To then have that data shared with third parties that you weren’t explicitly notified about, and having that possibly threaten your health or safety — that is an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards that we wouldn’t expect from a company that likes to brand itself as a supporter of the queer community.”