Popular Apps Share Intimate Details About You With Dozens of Companies
A new study shows how popular apps, including Grindr, OkCupid, Tinder, and the period-tracking apps Clue and MyDays, share intimate data about consumers with dozens of companies involved in the a dvertising business.The details include data that could indicate users’ sexual preferences and religious beliefs, along with information such as birthdays, GPS data, and ID numbers associated with individual smartphones, which can help tie all the data back to a single person.
Dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Grindr are sharing users' "highly personal" data like sexual preferences and location with advertising partners, according to a European data protection agency.
The Norwegian Consumer Councilon Tuesday suggesting the information you enter on dating apps is being used to create comprehensive profiles, which are then sold and used for targeted advertising and other practices.
Grindr said to share users' locations, sex preferences
Apps fed advertisers data that included info about "personalities, predispositions and secret desires," study found.The popular matchmaking apps collected and processed large amounts of highly sensitive information pertaining to individuals' sexuality, drug use, political views and more to help advertisers send consumers more targeted ads, the Norwegian Consumer Council said in a report entitled "Out of control: How consumers are exploited by the online advertising industry.
"These practices are out of control and are rife with privacy violations and breaches of European law," including the General Data Protection Regulation, said Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy in the Norwegian Consumer Council in a statement.
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The consumer advocacy group filed three GDPR complaints against the queer dating app Grindr and five advertising divisions of tech companies that reportedly receive the personal data including Twitter's MoPub and AT&T’s AppNexus.
These popular apps are sharing personal data with dozens of companies, study says
Some of the apps are sharing highly personal data, according to a study from the Norwegian Consumer Council.The study, released Tuesday by the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerradet), found that the apps, which also included period-tracking apps Clue and My Days, were collectively sharing user data with at least 135 advertising-related companies. The shared data included GPS locations and IP addresses, as well as personal details about gender, sexuality and political views, according to the study.
“Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app," said Max Schrems, founder of the European privacy non-profit noyb. The name is also an internet acronym for "none of your business."
Twitter suspended Grindr from its advertising network after the report published, the social media network confirmed to
A Grindr spokesperson said in a statement that the company rejects some of the report's "assumptions and conclusions," though it's working on rolling out a privacy consent platform in the app.
"We welcome the opportunity to be a small part in a larger conversation about how we can collectively evolve the practices of mobile publishers and continue to provide users with access to an option of a free platform," the company said.
USA TODAY reached out to Tinder and OkCupid for comment.
Dating apps: How to protect your personal data from hackers, advertisers
You can limit the app's access to your location settings, and never give out your address, real name or phone number.You input your name, upload some photos, set your location and sexual preferences and you're launched into a sea of mostly singles to chat with, meet and take things from there.
Grindr, which is owned by the Chinese gaming company Kunlun Tech, describes itself as the "world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people." Tinder is a location-based mobile app that's mostly used for dating. The American-based website OkCupid functions similarly.
While the dating app report focuses on practices in Europe, these types of mobile applications could also pose personal andhere in the U.S., the Department of Justice recently told NBC Nightly News Anchor Lester Holt.
"There's a lot of information there in the app that you're voluntarily turning over," said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice, in the NBC interview. "Some of it you know you're doing, some of it maybe you don't realize."
Grindr has information on its user's preferred sexual positions, HIV status, race and location. Tinder and OkCupid collect similar data points, though it's unclear how much of it is sold to third parties without you knowing.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Allegations of fraud: charges against Tinder operators
Too romantic to be true: The US consumer protection agency FTC has sued the operator of dating apps such as Tinder and OkCupid for alleged user deception. The parent company, Match, has exposed users to fraud risks such as fake profiles and bogus messages, the FTC said on Wednesday. Accordingly, information that other people who are interested in dating are interested in their own person should also have come from fake accounts. This in turn used Match to increase the number of subscriptions.
According to the lawsuit of the US consumer advocates, users of the match platforms between June 2016 and May 2018 opted for a total of almost 499,700 paid subscriptions in the 24 hours after receiving such positive feedback on their profile. However, the users were not informed that there were also false profiles and fake messages on the platforms. "We believe Match.com cheated users by driving them to purchase subscriptions via fraudulent messages," said the FTC.
Match reacted angrily to the allegations and described the lawsuit as "completely unfounded". The company will do everything possible to counteract this. Match reportedly offered $ 60 million to settle the case. However, no agreement was reached with the FTC. According to the company, the FTC lawsuit only took place after the Justice Department rejected civil investigations.
"Fraud is not good for business," Match said. That is why it is being fought decisively. This way, 85 percent of potentially fraudulent accounts can be deleted within the first four hours after registration, usually before they become active on the platform. Within a whole day, that applied to 96 percent of problematic profiles, Match said. (afp)
Tinder unveils 'panic button' for emergency response .
Tinder announced Thursday that US users would soon have a "panic button" to alert authorities to potentially dangerous situations as part of a stepped up safety initiative by the popular dating app. A new feature unveiled by Tinder will allow users to opt into the personal safety app Noonlight, which connects users to personal emergency services. A Tinder spokesperson said the feature would roll out in the coming days in the United States and connect users to "trained dispatchers who contact authorities on behalf of the user.