Grindr users’ can breathe a sigh of relief. The dating/hookup app responded to reports released on Monday, April 2, 2018, that they were sharing their users’ HIV status with third party companies. Thankfully, that fact is to change as Grindr has decided to stop sharing the sensitive information.
Initially, right after BuzzFeed News released their article about the shocking dating/hookup app revelations, Grindr responded in support of the claim. According to BuzzFeed News, the popular gay app originally stated, “‘the inclusion of HIV status information within our platform is always regarded carefully with our users’ privacy in mind,’ and that the company, like any other mobile app company, ‘must operate with industry standard practices’.”
The discovery that Grindr was sharing its users’ sensitive information originally came from an independent study by a Norwegian nonprofit called SINTEF. Subsequently, BuzzFeed News verified those findings through outside cybersecurity experts. Not only was Grindr sharing the HIV status of their users but the ubiquitous gay app was found by SINTEF to also be sharing its users’ other profile information as well.
The company, which has 3.6 million daily active users across the world, according to BuzzFeed News, has released a statement saying that they have decided to stop sharing the sensitive information with the two companies (Apptimize and Localytics) they were providing the information too.
In regards to the third party company, Localytics BuzzFeed News quoted Grindr’s Chief Security Officer Bryce Case saying, “‘based on the reaction [Grindr will stop the practice] — a misunderstanding of technology — to allay people’s fears. It will happen when the app’s next update is released, he said’.”
BuzzFeed News continued writing, “Case stressed that the HIV data had only been shared with Apptimize as part of Grindr’s standard rollout procedure for new features on the app. In this case, it was part of a new opt-in feature that would allow users to be reminded to get tested for HIV. The company stopped sharing the information with the third party when the feature was rolled out last week, Case said.”
The decision to stop sharing their users’ information didn’t stop Case from continuing to stick up for the company’s original reasoning behind the debacle as BuzzFeed News communicated, “Still, Case defended Grindr’s decision to share the data, arguing that Apptimize and Localytics are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better and that the information was not shared to make money or for other nefarious purposes.”
Regardless of Grindr’s original purpose, it’s good to know now that the company decided to halt the sharing.