Users of Grindr, a dating and hookup app used in the gay community, are furious after learning the company has been providing its users’ HIV status to two other companies.
According to BuzzFeed News, Apptimize and Localytics, two tech companies that help optimize apps, has received information from the profiles of Grindr’s 3.6 million users. This information includes their HIV status and “last tested date.”
The HIV status of the users was included along with GPS data, phone ID, and email. This means the companies can identify specific users and their HIV status, according to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF.
“The HIV status is linked to all the other information. That’s the main issue,” Pultier told BuzzFeed News. “I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status.”
Grindr recently rolled out an optional feature that would remind users to get tested for HIV every three to six months.
Although the HIV reminder is a positive step for healthy hookups in the gay community, many worry the company is not protecting its users’ privacy.
“Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status,” James Krellenstein, a member of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP New York, told BuzzFeed News.
“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."
“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 News in a statement. “No Grindr user information is sold to third parties. We pay these software vendors to utilize their services.”
(Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
TRENDING IN NEWS