Grindr was sharing HIV status of users, but now it's not

Grindr’s HIV Data Sharing Betrayed The LGBTQ Community

Grindr stops sharing HIV status of users with third parties after privacy fallout

Chief security officer Bryce Case told BuzzFeed News on Monday it made a decision to stop sharing information with Localytics to allay people's fears.

Add Grindr to the list of companies with creepy data-sharing practices.

The popular gay hook-up app came under fire yesterday as a Swedish TV program reported on the findings of a Norwegian nonprofit organization, which became concerned in February about information Grindr was sharing with two other companies, Localytics and Apptimize.

Case said there shouldn't be any comparison between Grindr and Cambridge Analytica, a British data firm that worked for President Donald Trump's campaign and is now under criticism over reports that it improperly accessed the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users. "I understand the news cycle right now is very focused on these issues", Case said, adding, "I think what's happened to Grindr is, unfairly, we've been singled out".

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Although the app encrypted the H.I.V. status data, the analysis found that Grindr had shared other highly sensitive details - including users' romantic aims and self-identified tribes like "leather" or "bear" - with an ad-targeting company without encryption.

But HIV and online privacy advocates said that the practice was an "egregious breach" of users' trust, both because they weren't notified that their information was being shared and because storing the information in more places means that it will be stolen. "You should carefully consider what information to include in your profile".

"It may be a commercial app, but as an LGBTQ app Grindr has responsibilities to the wider communities".

When new users create their Grindr profiles, they are asked a series of sensitive questions, including their sexual preference and HIV status. Edward Markey of MA and Sen.

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Grindr said if users did not want their data being shared with these companies, they should not have volunteered it.

On Tuesday, in response to questions about the Norwegian group's accusations, a Grindr spokesman said: "We welcome the questions about our policies and always look for opportunities to improve".

As an industry leader and champion for the LGBTQ community, Grindr, recognizes that a person's HIV status can be highly stigmatized but after consulting several global health organizations and our Grindr For Equality team, Grindr determined with community feedback it would be beneficial for the health and well-being of our community to give users the option to publish, at their discretion, the user's HIV Status and their Last Tested Date.

Localytics' vice president of product, Bryan Dunn, said in a statement that the company only collects publicly available data and that it does not automatically collect user data without consent.

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