Grindr Under Fire for Sharing HIV Status of Users

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LGBT dating app Grindr has apparently been sharing users' information with third parties, including users' Global Positioning System locations, HIV statuses, relationship statuses, sexuality, and gay subcultures a user might identify with, BuzzFeed News reports.

Grindr was quick to hit back at the allegations though, telling BuzzFeed that data sharing is "standard" in the industry and highlighted the fact that the app has always been a "public forum".

According to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at SINTEF, the nonprofit that first identified the data breach, specific users and their HIV status could be identified because HIV information is sent together with other user data such as Global Positioning System location, phone ID, and email.

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

"The Grindr response is exactly the same [as] the Happn response we got a few weeks ago", Pultier told Ars.

Grindr has actually quit sharing customers' HIV standing with its third-party suppliers, the firm's head of safety and security informed.

That said, many states have laws that require people living with HIV to disclose their status with sexual partners, and some have been aggressive in prosecuting those accused of not disclosing their status.

"There are plenty of ones that gay men can use that aren't sharing our HIV status", he said. Grindr is now discussing the removal of the data from Localytics as well.

Grindr came under fire for sharing information about users' health or locations with two companies enlisted to optimise its software.

Grindr, a gay dating and hook-up app, has reportedly provided its users' HIV statuses to two outside companies. The change will happen alongside the next update for the app, according to Bryce Case, Grindr chief security officer. The gay dating app has been sharing sensitive user details including HIV status and Global Positioning System location data with two third-party services.

"3. When working with these platforms, we restrict information shared except as necessary or appropriate". "I hope that one small silver lining here will be that users and citizens will realize that there are enormous loopholes in the privacy regime and that personal information is bought and sold freely on a global market".

" I recognize the information cycle today is really concentrated on these problems", Instance claimed, however included, "I assume exactly what's occurred to Grindr is, unjustly, we have actually been distinguished". "As the testing of our feature is completed, any information related to HIV status has been removed from Apptimize and we are in the process of discussing removal of this data from Localytics". "We felt this update would be a great way to make an immediate impact within the community on a broad scale and encourage more regular HIV testing".

The sharing of what many Grindr users view as private information follows a controversy over United Kingdom -based firm Cambridge Analytica's use of information from tens of millions of Facebook profiles to micro-target political campaign messages.

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. We do not share, or disclose, our customer's data.

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