Privacy

New Study Finds Dating Apps Have More Access to Personal Information Than You Think

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Dating app users often don’t realize how much personal information they are giving away just by signing up. But Datingroo, a U.K.-based online dating research company, has released a new study that shows exactly how little privacy most dating app users have.

Datingroo studied the ten most popular dating apps from Tinder to PlentyofFish to eHarmony, examining 45 personal data access points in 13 categories such as precise location, other accounts on the device, network connections, and modification or deletion of the contents on USB storage, and found some surprising results.

Among all the apps, Badoo and PlentyofFish have access to the most data in user’s devices (92% of all access points studied). Combined, they have more than 522 million users worldwide, which means they have access to an enormous amount of information. Coffee Meets Bagel has the fewest users (7 million), as well as the least data access.

Grindr Moves Forward With IPO Plans After U.S. Government Drops Opposition

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Gay dating app Grindr is headed towards an IPO again, now that the U.S. national security panel CFIUS has dropped its opposition.

Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech purchased Grindr fully in 2018, but the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. found this problematic and forced Beijing Kunlun to sell the app by June 2020. According to a report from CNBC, a source familiar with the situation said the efforts to sell Grindr by the deadline were continuing, even as plans for the IPO were moving forward.

Tinder Launches New Safety Feature for LGBTQ Travelers

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Tinder Travel Alert Screen Capture
Image: Tinder

Tinder has announced a new safety feature for those in the LGBTQ community who are traveling abroad.

The new “Traveler Alert” feature allows users to hide their profiles on the app when they feel unsafe traveling in countries and regions that criminalize same-sex acts, according to website Lifehacker. International travelers are subject to the laws of other countries, so it puts LGBTQ folks especially at risk. There are currently 69 countries that persecute same-sex acts, and nine of these allow the death penalty to be imposed, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Tinder’s website stated: “It’s important to exercise extra caution if you choose to connect with new people in these countries - as some law enforcement have been known to use dating apps as tools for potential entrapment. Some countries have also recently introduced laws that criminalize communications between individuals on same-sex dating applications or websites and even aggravate penalties if that communication leads to sexual encounters.”

Russia Now Requiring Tinder to Hand Over User Data

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Russia Requiring Tinder to Hand Over User Data

Russia is requiring 175 companies to share user data with its government law enforcement and intelligence services, including with FSB, the successor of the KGB spy agency. Listed among the companies was popular dating app Tinder.

Russia’s regulatory agency also required the dating app to store six months’ worth of user data on Russian servers, including direct messages, photos and videos. Three other dating apps, Mamba, Wamba and Badoo, currently share user information with Russian government officials, according to CNN.

Chinese Company Must Sell Grindr by End of June 2020

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Grindr must be sold by June 30, 2020

Beijing Kunlun Tech, a Chinese company which owns the popular dating app Grindr, will now be forced to sell it by June 2020, according to a report by CNN.

Beijing Kunlun Tech owns 60% of Grindr, a popular dating app in the LGBTQ community. Last year the company was planning to take the app public but was stopped when the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) intervened. The U.S. government agency oversees purchases of businesses by foreign entities and expressed concern that the national security of the U.S. would be threatened by the acquisition of the dating app by a Chinese tech company, because of the sensitive user information it had access to.

US Government is Forcing Chinese Company Who Purchased Grindr to Sell

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Grindr under scrutiny with sale to China

Grindr has come under scrutiny in the last several weeks after Chinese company Beijing Kunlun Tech purchased a majority stake in the popular dating app in 2018. The U.S. government has demanded the new owners give up control of the company.

According to The Washington Post, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government body charged with overseeing security threats to U.S. companies, has declared that the Grindr purchase is a threat to U.S. national security because of the risk posed to the privacy of users of the app.