The gay dating app, known for its popularity in the LGBTI community, is facing major backlash and possible investigations after news leaked that it had handed two private companies personal information on its users – information leaking that according to EU data regulations is illegal and highly confidential.
Each user on the app can customize their profile by posting their photo, age, weight, height, sexual position, ethnicity, body type, tribe, what they’re looking for, gender and pronouns, relationship status, social media profiles such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (if linked); even giving the app their exact GPS position, and lastly, what’s most concerning in the leak is the users’ HIV status and the last time they were tested for HIV.
In countries where the LGBTI community isn’t very outspoken or recognized, dating apps like Grindr are the community’s only haven when it comes to networking and dating. In countries such as ours (Macedonia), the app remains a place where the gay community turns to for contact with other gay members. A data breach of this caliber could have lasting consequences on the users where LGBTI people don’t have legal protection, or worse, have a legal system that outlaws them for their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
In Macedonia, the LGBTI community has taken a rise in visibility over the past five years and has grown in the public visibility – but remains unprotected in the legal frame under the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). With a leak such as this added to that, personal information of users that could be from Macedonia even (including the location and email address to profiles), makes them targets of hate speech or hate crimes if the information were to see the light in the wrong hands.
There are two things about this leak that puts the company running Grindr in major legal consequences, but also its users; The identity of the persons on the network and their HIV status faces possible exposure which can be a problem in major countries where the LGBTI community doesn’t have adequate legal protection.
The gay community itself is not so tolerant or equal as those that are non-LGBTI perceive it to be, and to them this may seem as weird or news. In fact, a person’s HIV status leaking inside the LGBTI community makes them targets of discrimination just as much as they would be targeted by non-LGBTI persons. The consequences of this leak are dire and legal actions need to be taken to prevent the spread of the leaked information before things get out of hand.
This information according to allegations has been shared with two private companies that now have access to millions of profiles from around the world. The Norwegian Consumer Council Forbrukerrådet has filed a complaint against the app for breaching data protection laws with a Norwegian investigation group.
Тhe Guardian, Grindr’s HIV data-sharing has betrayed the LGBTQ world
Written by: Stefan Petrovski