Grindr Admits To Sharing Its Users' HIV Information

05 April, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Simon Thompson
  • Grindr shares users' HIV status with third-party companies report

"I think what's happened to Grindr is, unfairly, we've been singled out".

"It's conflating an issue and trying to put us in the same camp where we really don't belong", he said, referring to Cambridge Analytica, which took advantage of Facebook's lax security to steal information from 50 million users' profiles.

Grindr's vendors - Apptimize and Localytics, two companies that help optimize apps - were able to access HIV statutes, along with Global Positioning System data, phone numbers, and email addresses, BuzzFeed first reported on Monday.

Speaking to BuzzFeed, SINTEF's Antoine Pultier said: "The HIV status is linked to all the other information".

The second company, Localytics, was described by Case as a "a software program that we use to analyze our own behavior".

Nonetheless, AIDS Healthcare Foundation criticized the app for sharing sensitive information that could have potentially been made vulnerable through the third-party vendors. "We pay these software vendors to utilize their services", Chen said. The company says the firms are under "strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security and user privacy".

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Grindr provided the HIV status along with the user's Global Positioning System data, email and phone ID, the news site reported. According to Grindr, it's to make the app better.

Grindr told BuzzFeed that the services provided by Apptimize and Localytics are meant to improve users' experience.

Plans to halt the data sharing followed a report by Buzzfeed News - citing research from Norwegian non-profit SINTEF - that the app was was passing on users' HIV information along with their Global Positioning System data, phone ID and email, which could make it possible for the companies to identify sensitive information about specific users. 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. Instead, Grindr includes it as part of their data-sharing with Apptimize and Localytics. Bryan Dunn, the vice president of product at Localytics, said in a statement that Localytics does not "automatically collect" a user's personal information. That's when the nonprofit discovered not only that Grindr was using many trackers, but also that it was directly sharing user data, including its users' HIV status, with two other companies. Among the information found to be passed around by Grindr was the user's HIV status, something Grindr allows members to list in their profiles.

This statement is in response to last week's disclosure by security researchers on the ways the Grindr app shares user information with third-party advertisers and partners. If that data were to leak or be stolen, or even accessed inappropriately by someone at Apptimize or Localytics, it could be devastating for those whose privacy was violated as a result.

"It is up to each customer to determine what information they send to Localytics, and Localytics processes that data exclusively for the customer's use". "I will not admit fault in the regard that the data was used".

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