Grindr: Yeah, we shared your HIV status info with other companies – but we didn’t charge them! (oh and your GPS coords)

Hookup fixer Grindr is on the defensive after it shared sensitive information, including HIV status and physical location, of its app’s users with outside organizations.

The quickie booking facilitator on Monday admitted it passed, via HTTPS, people’s public profiles to third-party analytics companies to process on its behalf. That means, yes, the information was handed over in bulk, but, hey, at least it didn’t sell it!

“Grindr has never, nor will we ever sell personally identifiable user information – especially information regarding HIV status or last test date – to third parties or advertisers,” CTO Scott Chen said in a statement.

Rather than apologize, Grindr said its punters should have known better than to give it any details they didn’t want passed around to other companies. On the one hand, the data was scraped from the application’s public profiles, so, well, maybe people ought to calm down. It was all public anyway. On the other hand, perhaps people didn’t expect it to be handed over for analysis en masse.

“It’s important to remember that Grindr is a public forum,” Chen said. “We give users the option to post information about themselves including HIV status and last test date, and we make it clear in our privacy policy that if you choose to include this information in your profile, the information will also become public.”

This statement is in response to last week’s disclosure by security researchers on the ways the Grindr app shares user information with third-party advertisers and partners. Among the information found to be passed around by Grindr was the user’s HIV status, something Grindr allows members to list in their profiles.

The HIV status, along with last test date, sexual position preference, and GPS location were among the pieces of info Grindr shared via encrypted network connections with analytics companies Localytics and Apptimize.

The revelation drew sharp criticism of Grindr, with many slamming the upstart for sharing what many consider to be highly sensitive personal information with third-parties along with GPS coordinates.

Source: Grindr: Yeah, we shared your HIV status info with other companies – but we didn’t charge them! • The Register

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