Dating app Grindr has come under fire after reports have surfaced that it has been sharing more data about its users than it should be.
The discovery was made by independent researchers at SINTEF who conducted looked into the privacy leaks in the app. According to Grindr itself the app is used by 3 million people around the world everyday.
SINTEFs research yielded some rather worrying results. For one, a user’s precise GPS location is shared with third parties along with their HIV status and last test date. This is highly sensitive information that some people may not want to share with others, especially without knowledge of who exactly it is being shared with.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, SINTEF researcher Antoine Pultier explained that all data – including usernames, location and HIV status – was stored together. “I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status,” said Pultier.
Following the revelations disclosed by SINTEF, Grindr has responded to the allegations leveled against it in a blog post.
“As an industry standard practice, Grindr does work with highly-regarded vendors to test and optimize how we roll out our platform. These vendors are under strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy,” wrote Grindr’s chief technology officer Scott Chen.
The CTO then goes on to explain that, in the event that user data containing sensitive information is shared, it is transmitted securely and there are data retention policies in place.
However, the firm says that users should be aware that any information they share on their profile will be made public which includes HIV status.
This news comes after the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal which saw the data of millions of Facebook users compromised by a third-party, despite Facebook’s data retention policies. While those on Grindr might be willing to share their HIV status and location with others, that might not include third-parties helping the app better itself.
We wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming weeks Grindr simplifies its privacy settings in much the same way Facebook has in a bid to put users mind at ease regarding data sharing.