Grindr shares users' HIV status with third-party companies

Grindr for iPhone

The data sharing and privacy spotlight has shifted away from Facebook this week and onto the gay dating app Grindr. Also, any individual who receives HIV-related information is required to keep it confidential.

In a tweet, United States senator Ed Markey suggested that greater care needed to be taken when handling information about individuals' HIV status: "Privacy isn't just about credit card numbers and passwords".

And you thought you only had to worry about your nudes getting leaked. Several statements were released by Grindr, and parties involved with them.

"I understand the news cycle right now is very focused on these issues", Case told Axios, which first reported the change on Monday evening. "This is just something we use for internal tooling", he said.

Still, Case defended Grindr's decision to share the data, arguing that Apptimize and Localytics are simply tools to help apps like Grindr function better, and that the information was not shared to make money or for other nefarious purposes.

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The most sensitive information was encrypted, Grindr said - though a Norwegian campaign group said the sharing of other, unencrypted, data amounted to a potential privacy intrusion.

"Our goal is and always has been to support the health and safety of our users worldwide".

Grindr Chief Technology Officer Scott Chen explained that the company does not and will not sell users' data to third parties or advertisers - it will only "work with" vendors to further enhance the app, but this involves data sharing.

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.

The company says the firms are under "strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality".

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"When working with these platforms we restrict information shared except as necessary or appropriate", Chen said. Its privacy policy cautions: "Remember that if you choose to include information in your profile, and make your profile public, that information will also become public". Because the HIV info is shared along with Global Positioning System data, phone IDs, and email addresses, it makes it possible to link specific Grindr users with their health condition.

"It is up to each user to determine what, if anything, to share about themselves in their profile".

One week after queer hookup app Grindr announced it would offer a feature reminding users to get tested for HIV, an explosive news report reveals the site is sharing customers' HIV status with at least two outside companies.

The company claims the contracts with the 2 companies are both standard practice and secure.

Case stressed that the HIV data had only been shared with Apptimize as part of Grindr's standard rollout procedure for new features on the app.

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Councilmember D'Amico noted that Grindr is an app that is used internationally and that making information about its gay users available in some countries may put them at risk.

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