Grindr, a dating app for gay men, has signaled to stop sharing the HIV status of its users after much criticism of this practice arose from a report.
Grindr’s security chief Bryce Case says to Axios that the company will stop sharing the sensitive information. It reportedly shared the information with two companies, Localytics and Apptimize, to improve the performance of its app and to test certain functions among a small part of its users. Sensitive data would always be sent with encryption and not shared with advertisers, says Case. They would have access to other information, such as age, interests, location and relationship status.
According to Case, Grindr is now thrown into a heap with Cambridge Analytica, which he thinks is an incorrect comparison, he says to Axios. In a previous post on the Grindr blog, Cto Scott Chen said the company is not selling information. He added that users themselves choose to publish their HIV status via the app. According to Chen, this information could be ‘very stigmatizing’, but the company chose this option ‘because of the health and well-being of its community’.
The company says to BuzzFeed that it is not currently can say whether users are given the option to delete data retroactively. The current discussion started after a publication of the site based on a report from the Norwegian organization Sintef . It states that in addition to data about the HIV satus, data such as GPS location, telephone ID and e-mail address are also shared. This would allow users to be identified. According to BuzzFeed, Grindr has 3.6 million daily active users worldwide.