Grindr Under Fire: Users Sue Over Exposed HIV Information

Dating can be hard. One usually embarks on countless insufferable dates before they find someone who is just the right fit for them, and those ones are lucky. Many people live their lives without ever finding one partner to share their with.

Few Fish in a Large Pond

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In the queer community, the obstacle of love become a gargantuan feat. Not only is the dating poll reduced, but other factors of sexuality and openness come into play. As a result, many queer people end up looking to the internet in search of a partner.

Grinding for Love

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Amongst the queer male population, one app is always a standout: Grindr. Much less of a “looking for love” and more so a “looking for now” tool, Grindr is globally popular and commonly used. The signature sound alert is sure to make any queer man’s head turn in public.

Serving One’s Community

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Knowing the large impact that they have on the community, Grindr corporates work to supply local and regional aid to users, as well as promote safe sex practices and regular testing. The app even has an extensive bio field, where one can include their HIV status and latest testing date.

Dropping the Ball

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However, recent news has landed the hookup app in hot water. A class action lawsuit of over 650 members has been launched against the company. And the charge? Mishandling of private information, particularly around the HIV status of thousands of account holders.

UK Says It’s Not O.K.

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The case, based in the UK, is filed by London’s Austen Hays law firm. The official charges being brought forth are for “the misuse of private information of thousands of affected UK Grindr users, including highly sensitive information about their HIV status and latest tested date,”.

Thousands to Be Gained

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The law firm has predicted that, if the case rules in their favor, those under the class action lawsuit could potentially gain thousands in retributions. Grindr’s violation was sharing the information of users between to third parties: Apptimize and Localytics.

Not as Advertised

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At first glance, the two companies appear to be advertising agencies. However, upon further investigation, both corporations supply data for app marketing and management. This means that the third parties could be using the data to specialize ads for the queer community.

Almost a Decade

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The case seems to be a surefire win for those involved. Grindr’s initial controversy began in 2018, when independent researchers discovered that the app was sharing private information. In response, Grindr issued a statement clarifying that it never worked in selling data.

A Vow to Protect

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Grindr commented on the incident, informing the public that it “has never sold, nor will we ever sell, personal user information—especially information regarding HIV status or last test date—to third parties or advertisers.”

Scandanavian Scandal

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This is not the first instance of Grindr being caught in the act of data dealing. In 2021, the country of Norway fined the company over $6 million for releasing “user data to third parties for behavioural advertisement”.

Open Admission

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While Grindr did admit to the accusations, the company said its motivations were benevolent. They thought it to be “beneficial for the health and well-being of our community to give users the option to publish, at their discretion, their HIV status and their ‘Last Tested Date’ to their public profile.”

Some Truth to the Matter

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This claim may hold some water. By collaborating with third parties, Grindr has been able to create and check that add-on features were working properly with generating lag or causing glitches. One of the new features Grindr verified through third party involvement was the “HIV Testing Reminder.”

International Implications

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No doubt that the court case will be monitored closely. International law professionals speculate that the company could have more lawsuits in its future, depending on how the court rules. But what does this mean for the US?

Lacking Legality

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There is no confirmation on whether the app is collecting and sharing private information. However, based on the statements released by the dating app, it would not be a stretch to say that could be the case.

No Guarantee of Safety

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However, court rulings may take a different turn when it comes to American users. US law in regard to data privacy and security is not as robust as seen in other European countries. It could very well be that the same practice in the US could be found to be completely legal.

Read the Terms and Conditions

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Grindr’s lawsuit is no shortage of examples of a new wave for legal rights in a digital age. If one piece of advice is to be taken away from this, it is to always read the terms and conditions.

The post Grindr Under Fire: Users Sue Over Exposed HIV Information first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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