Dating app, Grindr, said they would stop sharing users’ HIV status with analytic groups.
In recent weeks, social media giants have come under the microscope as users take a closer look at the data being shared. These users have become more aware and advocates for their privacy. It’s not really a surprise that more information is coming out to highlight how these social media companies are using their users’ data. This, however, is especially intrusive as it deals with a specific medical status.
Grindr is a popular dating app for gay users. There are several soap boxes one could stand on here to discuss their rights and privacy in even asking the question about users’ HIV status. However, it is an optional question that they could choose to ignore if they didn’t wish to disclose. Grindr‘s CTO Scott Chen defended the practice by pointing out that users were clearly told the information would become public if they shared it on their profile.
Choosing to share a piece of private information within an app is entirely different from choosing to allow that information to be sent through the tendrils of the web as data streams to outside analytical agencies. This is yet another cautionary tale that users must be aware of what information they’re sharing and how those services are using it. Your information is only as private as you allow it to be.