BuzzFeed News has just released an article indicating that the dating/hookup app Grindr has been caught sharing their users’ HIV status, among other profile information.
The new revelation was discovered by an outside research firm according to BuzzFeed News, which continues to write, “the new analysis, confirmed by cybersecurity experts who analyzed SINTEF’s data and independently verified by BuzzFeed News, calls into question how seriously the company takes its users’ privacy.”
The dating/hookup app that has over 3.6 million daily active users throughout the globe according to BuzzFeed is sharing their users’ information with two companies in particular, Apptimize and Localytics. But Grindr Chief Technology officer Scott Chen told BuzzFeed, “Thousands of companies use these highly-regarded platforms.”
Chen statement is predicated by Grindr’s claim that the two companies’ services are only meant to improve the app. The company also states that they have strict contracts with the two companies to safeguard users’ information. Plus, Chen claims that none of the information is sold to any third-party entities.
However, Senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told BuzzFeed News, “Even if Grindr has a good contract with the third parties saying they can’t do anything with that info, that’s still another place that that highly sensitive health information is located.”
Quintin goes on to say, “If somebody with malicious intent wanted to get that information, now instead of there being one place for that — which is Grindr — there are three places for that information to potentially become public.” This can present safety and health risk to users’ especially those who are in areas, countries, jobs, etc. that aren’t accepting of the LGBTQ lifestyle.
It’s hard to stomach how to take this information that BuzzFeed just reported on to because along with the new findings of Grindr’s data sharing is the fact that the company also promotes HIV awareness and safe sex practices. According to the BuzzFeed article, “The app offers free ads for HIV-testing sites, and last week, it debuted an optional feature that would remind users to get tested for HIV every three to six months.”
Not to mention, Grindr also provides links on HIV FAQ and how to get on PrEP. With all that Grindr is doing to promote HIV prevention, it’s hard to say that they don’t care about the users’ health. But is that really the same case in regard to their users’ privacy? BuzzFeed stated, “Some experts agrue that Grindr should be more specific in its user agreement about how it’s using their data.”
We here at KWIR Media are sharing this new revelation with our readers not to scare Grindr users from sharing their HIV status, because disclosing your status is important and is part of being sexually responsible, but rather to keep users inform of Grindr’s actions and how they are sharing your sensitive information.
Read more about this topic on BuzzFeed at https://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/grindr-hiv-status-privacy?utm_term=.mvE8RDRm2#.ugWJqRqZz.