Grindr, a gay dating and hook-up app, has been sharing its users’ HIV statuses with two outside app optimization companies, reports BuzzFeed News and Norwegian non-profit SINTEF.
According to the report, Apptimize and Localytics have received users’ HIV status and “last tested date.”
Antoine Pultier, a researcher who discovered Grindr’s data sharing, tells Buzzfeed that other information provided to the two companies including GPS data, phone ID and email, could allow an intruder to identify specific individuals with HIV.
“The HIV status is linked to all the other information. That’s the main issue,” Pultier told BuzzFeed. “I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status.”
Grindr has 3.6 million daily users.
“Grindr is a relatively unique place for openness about HIV status,” said James Krellenstein, a member of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP New York.
“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.”
Grindr fired back at the report by claiming the HIV data is not sold to Apptimize and Localytics and that the companies are used to help 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.”