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Grindr Admits To Sharing Its Users’ HIV Information

Popular same-sex dating app Grindr admitted on Monday to allegations that it had allowed third parties access to the HIV status of its users, adding that the company made sure customers on the app had the option not to supply such information.

Grindr acknowledged that user information on their HIV status, including the date they were last tested, was shared with Localytics and Apptimize, two companies that Grindr paid to monitor and analyze the app’s movements, NPR reports.

News of Grindr’s sharing HIV information first appeared on Buzzfeed. The site wrote an article, saying, “Because the HIV information is sent together with users’ GPS data, phone ID, and email, it could identify specific users and their HIV status, according to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF, which first identified the issue.”

Grindr published a response on its Tumblr page, addressing the issue point by point. “It’s important to remember that Grindr is a public forum. We give users the option to post information about themselves including HIV status and last test date, and we make it clear in our privacy policy that if you choose to include this information in your profile, the information will also become public.”

The company added that this information is encrypted and that Grindr “has never, nor will we ever sell personally identifiable user information – especially information regarding HIV status or last test date – to third parties or advertisers.”

Jeff Sheehy, San Francisco Supervisor of Grindr, said,

I actually find this very disturbing and possibly sinister.

This controversy comes on the heels over Cambridge Analytica’s use of tens of millions of Facebook profiles as a means of streamlining political campaign messages.

The news also comes on the same day CVS Health was slapped with a lawsuit on allegations that the pharmacy retailer revealed the HIV status of thousands of residents in Ohio.

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