Grindr responds after sharing HIV status of users with other companies

Grindr for iPhone

Grindr for iPhone

Bryce Case, Grindr's chief security officer, told BuzzFeed the company had chose to stop sharing information with Localytics over the reaction to the report, calling it a "misunderstanding of technology".

Both firms receive some of the data that Grindr users elect to include in their profiles including their HIV status, the last date they were tested for HIV and whether or not they are taking the medication known as "PrEP", a drug that lowers your risk of contracting HIV.

The Norwegian Consumer Council has filed a privacy complaint about Grindr, arguing it's in breach of national and European data protection laws after it emerged the dating app has been sharing personal information about its users with third parties.

Additionally, the data on HIV status is bundled with other information that might jeopardize the privacy of a user, including phone ID, email, and GPS position.

On Monday it emerged the app had, among other things, provided information on HIV status, including date last tested.

Grindr chief technology officer Scott Chen said in a Tumblr post that sharing data with partners was "industry practice" and that steps were taken to protect people's privacy. The good news is that Grindr has now said that it will stop sharing this information, although Case tried to further turn down the heat by saying that data had only been shared for "debugging and optimization purposes" anyway.

Grindr also said that the information provided to vendors was encrypted, and that the company "has never, nor will we ever sell personally identifiable user information - especially information regarding HIV status or last test date - to third parties or advertisers".

"It's important to remember that Grindr is a public forum", Chen said.

Grindr started life in 2009 and has since raked in 3.9 million users.

Before the company yanked the HIV status data sharing, Pultier told Ars by email on Monday that his organization was hired by SVT to do the privacy audit work. "Sharing sensitive information like this can put LGBT Americans at risk".

Case said that the company was "unfairly" targeted for criticism because of recent online privacy discussions.

Just days ago the app was hit with a privacy scandal after cyber-security experts found a software error that could have exposed the real identities of its users. According to the report, because the data is shared with email addresses, Global Positioning System information and phone IDs, the identity of users is not hard to ascertain.

Grindr has long promoted HIV awareness, offering information about free testing sites as well as opt-in reminders for semiannual testing.

"When working with these platforms we restrict information shared except as necessary or appropriate", Chen said.

It also comes following separate news of a lawsuit against CVS Health that alleges the pharmacy chain revealed the HIV status of thousands of people in Ohio.

But some Grindr users reacted angrily to this admission it shared personal data, with one user asking what other information Grindr had shared with other firms, and they were only admitting this after getting caught.

Recommended News

  • If you have an iOS device, you can now play Fortnite

    If you have an iOS device, you can now play Fortnite

    This has now been confirmed by Epic Games, and we've got details about how Vending Machines will work in Fortnite: Battle Royale . If you're a fan of mobile gaming , you might have noticed the platform has begun to receive a few high-profile ports lately.
    Autopsy Refutes Police Account in Stephon Clark Shooting

    Autopsy Refutes Police Account in Stephon Clark Shooting

    Cleveland is part of a group of activists that has reportedly attended nearly every City Council meeting for the last three years. It also noted that the vehicle sustained "scratches, dents and a shattered rear window", thanks to "vandals in the crowd".
    Russia: UK must apologize in nerve agent case

    Russia: UK must apologize in nerve agent case

    Vladimir Putin won the Russian election last month by a landslide to give him a record fifth term as president. The request came after Moscow received and analysed samples of the Novichok agent used in the attack.
  • United Nations  chief urges warring Yemeni parties to reach peace deal

    United Nations chief urges warring Yemeni parties to reach peace deal

    The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen requires $2.96 billion to reach more than 13 million people across the country. The funding appeal came a day after several children were among those killed in a strike on the rebel-held port of Hodeida.
    Hunterdon County YMCA recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month in April

    Hunterdon County YMCA recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month in April

    Bartleson said neglect is simply a matter of not meeting the physical needs of a child. Nearly half of the nation's children have been impacted by child trauma, she said.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.