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App Grindr under scrutiny over privacy concerns

In an article published yesterday by BuzzFeed News, it was released that Gay Dating App Grindr has been sharing its users’ HIV status with two outside companies, a move which many consider dangerous to the queer community that the app claims to serve.

The sites, Apptimize and Localytics, work with Grindr to optimize the app and user experience. While it has been noted that these companies do not share information with third parties, there are still concerns with the sharing of sensitive information of a historically vulnerable population. This could raise flags for users sharing their HIV status on the app, which could negatively impact public health interventions that work to reduce HIV transmission and stigma.

Grindr recently announced that they would remind users to get tested for HIV every three to six months, offering a cue to action for users to be more aware of their HIV status. Knowing ones status is a crucial component for reducing the number of new HIV infections, such as by offering the opportunity to those who are living with HIV to be connected to care and achieve viral suppression.

 

Sources:

BuzzFeed News: Grindr Is Sharing The HIV Status Of Its Users With Other Companies –https://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/grindr-hiv-status-privacy?bfsplash&utm_term=.eu9v16ZaQ#.akvOQgNJj

  • Hannah Tuttle

    Great article Josh! This seems to be a common thread of sharing information without the user’s consent over the internet. This issue of sharing such private health information should provoke more clear understanding and consent of what type of information is shared.

  • Matthew Johnson

    This is a good article about Grindr. I’m personally interested in preparing app users in general to think more about the information that they share with these applications. Clearly, sharing HIV information about queer people is a particular issue, but there are other apps that people provide their health information to. I think the assumption is often that the information is safe because we don’t think about or teach people about the ways that their information is shared in the current mobile app/eHealth ecosystem. It seems like this has blown over pretty quickly, but it should be part of a larger discussion about the information that we’re sharing with/on applications.