Just days after Grindr-a geosocial networking app geared toward gay and bisexual men to help them meet other men in their area-revealed a new feature which allowed users to opt-in to receive automatic HIV testing reminders, a data analysis launched by a Norwegian outside research firm found that the app was sharing users' HIV status with 2 other companies. But according to the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF, not everything on the dating app is secure; Grindr also transmits data to other third-party mobile advertising services, but in plaintext.
For those who don't use the app, users can indicate whether they are positive, negative, and/or being treated for the infection by using the app's "HIV status" category.
"Grindr has 3.6 million daily users, nearly exclusively gay men".
And Grindr's security boss Bryce Case later exclusively told United States news site Axios that data sharing with third-party companies with the goal of improving the app, rather than selling data, was commonplace. San Francisco-based Apptimize and Boston-based Localytics, Chen said, are "highly-regarded software vendors" hired to improve the app and "are under strict contractual terms" to ensure user privacy and data security.
After users had signed into the service with their Grindr account details, Faden was able to access a large amount of private data from their accounts - including unread messages, deleted photos and user location data.
Case said that Grindr's situation is much different from Facebook's, noting that the objective was strictly for debugging the app. "We're aware of reports of a data breach involving the Grindr app and we are working to establish the scale of any impact on United Kingdom users", explained an ICO spokesman, in a statement emailed to Fox News.
Chen said Grindr is a public forum and it was up to users to "carefully consider what information to include" in their profile.
"We need more, not less, people living with HIV being visible on apps and elsewhere". It is now understood that the app has made a decision to stop sharing HIV status with third party companies.
"Just as users have begun deleting their Facebook accounts after the Cambridge Analytica controversy, dating app users will similarly delete or extensively restrict their use of such apps", she said in a statement to AFP. The importance of transparency becomes incredibly clear in this example, as Grindr is experiencing a public relations nightmare despite having language that at least vaguely covered its practices.