Grindr Sets Off Privacy Firestorm After Sharing Users' HIV-Status Data

Lynette PayneApr 05, 2018

Grindr also shares its users' precise GPS position, "tribe" (meaning what gay subculture they identify with), sexuality, relationship status, ethnicity, and phone ID to other third-party advertising companies.

The inclusion of HIV status information within our platform is always regarded carefully with our users' privacy in mind, but like any other mobile app company, we too must operate with industry standard practices to help make sure Grindr continues to improve for our community.

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

Sintef, a Norwegian non-profit research company, said this meant that individuals could be identified as HIV positive by the analytics companies and put them at a greater risk from hackers.

Grindr said if users did not want their data being shared with these companies, they should not have volunteered it. "As a company that serves the LGBTQ community, we understand the sensitivities around HIV status disclosure", Chen said.

Speaking to the United States news site Axios, Grindr's Security Chief, Bryce Case, stated that sharing information with third-party companies, in order to improve the app, was commonplace.

With around 3.6 million daily active users, Grindr also offers its members the option of declaring their HIV status along with their last tested date. "Grindr and those with whom it shares its users' sensitive information has an obligation to both protect this data and ensure users have meaningful control over it".

"Grindr collects highly personal data about its users", wrote Senators Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) in a letter addressed to Grindr's interim CEO Zhou Yahui. "I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status".

"Grindr is an app that is targeted to and used by sexual minorities, and on that basis there is reason to believe that information about the use of the service could be sufficient to draw conclusions about sexual orientation", concluded the Council.

Case also said that Grindr was being unfairly singled out. The company states that this option is backed by LGBT+ groups and worldwide health organisations.

Chen added that the companies that use Grindr's data were simply software optimization firms that acted "under strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy".

But in a odd move, the app published another troubling statement in its privacy policy: "It's important to remember that Grindr is a public forum". "Sharing users' HIV status would be a serious violation of privacy", Lina Rosengren-Hovee, an infectious diseases fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who has studied the use of Grindr to advertise self-test HIV kits, told Vox.

Related Articles:

« Previous article
Next article »

Popular Pages

SpaceX launches cargo to space station using recycled rocket, spaceship
SpaceX will not attempt to land the tall portion of the rocket, known as the booster or first stage, after launch, she said. Aboard the Dragon spacecraft, which was launched into space on April 8, 2016, will be roughly 5,800 pounds of cargo.

All The Security Updates to Expect From Apple's New iOS 11.3
It was a partnership that shook up the PC industry and saw Apple shift away from chips co-developed by IBM and Motorola. A United States software firm estimated that Apple's business accounts for about 5 percent of Intel's annual revenue.

Egyptians attempt to elect Liverpool hero Mo Salah as president
The 2018 presidential election is the first election in Egyptian history to be monitored by the National Election Authority. The Egyptian leader garnered 97 percent of the votes last month, according to the BBC .

President Trump wants military to patrol Mexican border until wall is built
The president's tweets do not always lead to a new policy, but on Monday afternoon the White House announced Mr. But it suggested it is not up to Mexico to keep people from going to the apply for asylum.

Champions League: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp predicts fiery clash against Manchester City
You could see in their faces in the first half that they didn't know what was happening. When he is 100 percent and in the zone then he can beat anyone.

Broncos' 2018 offseason workout schedule is set
Team practice may be conducted on a "separates" basis, but no live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. Helmets are permitted and teams can do team drills and situations, including 11-on-11, but live contact is still prohibited.

Manchester United target Samuel Umtiti talking to Antoine Griezmann about Barcelona transfer
The France global centre back is a key target for Manchester United this summer as they look to strengthen their defence. Umtiti's buyout clause is set at €60million, making him an appealing target for clubs throughout Europe.

CHP: Hart family crash believed to be 'an intentional act'
On Wednesday, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will expand its search effort for the three missing children, Barney said. The Department of Social and Health Services had no prior history with the family, said Norah West, an agency spokeswoman.

United Nations blacklists shipping firms for aiding N.Korea
It comes despite planned summits this spring between the USA and South Korean leaders with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. China postponed the decision on March 2 without giving a reason, and the 15-member committee worked with consensus.

McAllister expects bit of individual brilliance to settle Liverpool-Man City tie
Milivojevic converted his seventh penalty from eight in the Premier League this season - more than any other player. Liverpool were saved late in the match at Selhurst Park by another strike full of composure by Mohamed Salah .