Grindr, a gay dating application with more than 3.6 million active users across the world, has allegedly been providing its users’ HIV statuses, location data, email addresses, and other personal information to third parties without consent.
According to a BuzzFeed report and SINTEF researchers, Grindr was sharing user HIV information (status and last tested date), precise GPS location data, age, “tribe” (meaning what gay subculture they identify with), sexuality, relationship status, ethnicity, language, and phone information with third parties – unbeknownst to Grindr users.
Because Grindr allegedly sent the HIV information together with users’ GPS data, phone information, and email addresses, among other things, the third parties could easily identify specific users and their HIV status. Furthermore, to the extent that the information was provided in an unencrypted format, as reported, it is highly susceptible to hacking.
As a company that serves the LGBTQ community, Grindr should understand that many of its users are at risk due to sensitivities and stigmas around sexual orientation and HIV status. Thus, Gindr’s reported affirmative decision to share highly sensitive HIV statuses and other personal information with third parties without explicit user consent is an extremely egregious violation of users’ privacy and may put users’ physical safety at risk.
Disclosure of personal information is unlawful, and the attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP have successfully brought lawsuits on behalf of victims of such disclosures. If you are a Grindr user, then your rights may have been violated. Please contact FBFG to explore your rights.