Dating app Grindr shares users' HIV status with third parties

Grindr, a gay dating app, gave users' HIV statuses and other information from their profiles to two outside data-optimization firms, according to The Hill.

However, Grindr has since changed its policies and will no longer share sensitive data with third parties, according to LGBTQ Nation.

The two companies, Apptimize and Localytics, received select information Gindr users included in their profiles, which included their HIV status and "last tested date," as well as GPS data, phone ID and email. Nearly 3.6 million people use Grindr daily, most of whom are gay men. The data sharing was discovered by research scientist Antoine Pultier.

"The HIV status is linked to all the other information. That's the main issue," Mr. Pultier told BuzzFeed News. "I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status."

Grindr originally said the data sharing was justified because it did not sell the data to the firms, and Grindr employs the firms to help improve its app.

"Thousands of companies use these highly-regarded platforms. These are standard practices in the mobile app ecosystem," Grindr Chief Technology Officer Scott Chen told BuzzFeed in a statement. "No Grindr user information is sold to third parties. We pay these software vendors to utilize their services."

However, AIDs advocates are still concerned. "Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status," James Krellenstein, a member of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP New York, told The Hill. "To then have that data shared with third parties that you weren't explicitly notified about, and having that possibly threaten your health or safety — that is an extremely, extremely egregious breach of basic standards that we wouldn't expect from a company that likes to brand itself as a supporter of the queer community."

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