Among other things, the researchers found that Tinder sent a user’s gender and the gender the user was looking to date to two marketing firms.
The researchers did not test iPhone apps. Settings on both Android phones and iPhones enable users to limit ad tracking.
The group’s findings illustrate how challenging it would be for even the most intrepid consumers to track and hinder the spread of their personal information.
Grindr’s app, for instance, includes software from MoPub, Twitter’s ad service, which can collect the app’s name and a user’s precise device location, the report said. MoPub in turn says it may share user data with more than 180 partner companies. One of those partners is an ad tech company owned by ATT, which may share data with more than 1,000 “third-party providers.”
In a statement, Twitter said: “We are currently investigating this issue to understand the sufficiency of Grindr’s consent mechanism. In the meantime, we have disabled Grindr’s MoPub account.”
ATT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The spread of users’ location and other sensitive information could present particular risks to people who use Grindr in countries, like Qatar and Pakistan, where consensual same-sex sexual acts are illegal.
This is not the first time that Grindr has faced criticism for spreading its users’ information. In 2018, another Norwegian nonprofit group found that the app had been broadcasting users’ H.I.V. status to two mobile app service companies. Grindr subsequently announced that it had stopped the practice.
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/business/grindr-apps-dating-data-tracking.html?emc=rss&partner=rss