Hacker’s Delight: Tinder Tracks, Stores Everything Users Do
AFP 2017/ LIONEL BONAVENTURE Tech20:15 26.09.2017(updated 22:24 26.09.2017) Get short URL236750
It turns out that Tinder, the dating and casual hookup app with millions of users worldwide, keeps track of and stores vast amounts of information about its users: taking advantage of European information law to request what data the company has on her, avid Tinder user and reporter Judith Puportail was shocked by what she found.
In a piece for The Guardian, Puportail discovered that Tinder remembers every time she’s used the app, every match, every conversation, and other sensitive information, even Facebook likes and Instagram photos. “The dating app has 800 pages of information on me, and probably on you too if you are also one of its 50 million users,” she wrote.
The journalist asked Tinder to grant her her personal information in March, in accordance with EU data protection laws which allow people to do so. She got back all the information Tinder has on her going back to 2013, when she opened her account.
Puportail admitted that scrolling through the information made her feel guilty. “I was amazed by how much information I was voluntarily disclosing: from locations, interests and jobs, to pictures, music tastes and what I liked to eat,” she wrote.
And while the company’s policy states that data may be used by others mainly to deliver targeted advertising, Puportail asked what would happen if this “treasure trove of data” were “hacked…made public or simply bought by another company?”
Internet security experts and ordinary users alike have repeatedly raised concerns about the dating app, discovering numerous security flaws over the years which allowed hackers to discover users’ precise locations, how recently someone had logged on, and other information. In 2016, a subscription service website called Swipebuster was launched, allowing users to search through Tinder’s user database.
The app appears in the news regularly in connection to one scandal or another. Earlier this month, Swedish media reported that gang members were posing as women to rob their Tinder ‘dates’. Earlier this year, a US non-profit research center warned that the number of women being harassed online via dating apps including Tinder is on the rise globally. Psychologists and researchers have also warned that in spite of the broad availability of dating and hookup apps like Tinder, Americans are actually having less sex today than they were 20 years ago.