After Outcry, Grindr Says It Will No Longer Share Users' HIV Info with Other Companies

Tuesday April 3, 2018

The gay hookup app Grindr said it will no longer share information about its users' HIV statuses with third-party companies following an outcry, BuzzFeed reports.

It was reported Monday that the company was providing sensitive user information to two services that optimize apps, Apptimize and Localytics. It was revealed Grindr was sharing information users put in their profiles, including HIV status and "last tested date."

After an outcry, which included a blast from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Grindr announced late Monday it stopped sharing the information with Localytics "based on the reaction - a misunderstanding of technology - to allay people's fears," chief security officer Bryce Case told BuzzFeed. The change will be implemented during Grindr's next app update.

Case also defended Grindr's decision to share data in the first place, arguing that the two third-party companies are tools that help apps work better and that the information was not shared for profit or other reasons.

BuzzFeed writes:

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. In this case, it was part of a new opt-in feature that would allow users to be reminded to get tested for HIV. The company stopped sharing the information with the third party when the feature was rolled out last week, Case said.

He went on to explain Localytics is "a software program that we use to analyze our own behavior. It's being conflated with Cambridge Analytica.

"This is just something we use for internal tooling," Case added to BuzzFeed. "I will not admit fault in the regard that the data was used."

When asked if Grindr will retroactively delete the data that was being shared, he said, "I don't have an answer for you at this time. It is something we can look into."

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