Live Research Blog Data and Dating: Who Else Wants Your Love? Tinder, Grinder, Happn, OkCupid For the millions of people who use online dating platforms, potential dates, hook-ups or even love are now just a click or a swipe away. The data we give away might seem like a small price to pay for the possibility of finding love, but what is happening in the background? How data is collected, analysed, sold, traded or reused might be more complicated than we think. The data you give away when using dating apps might seem like a small price to pay for the possibility of meeting someone new.
The systems by which data is collected, analysed, sold, traded and reused might be more complicated than you think. Personal data is the goose that lays the golden egg in our modern economy. The industry of data brokers—the ones who buy and sell our data to third parties—is facilitated by the companies that organise our lives with operating systems, apps and hardware.
But this field is a growing and lucrative business model that in the case of the dating game can include information you probably originally intended to reach very few people. Tinder also knows which kind of people are interested in you. After the allegations, OKCupid said they ceased to do it. The information requested, or that you deliver voluntarily to build up your profile, includes: If the data was released to partners, it may have been used as direct marketing or sold as a package of information to a data broker.
Any information you provided to create your profile also exists in the form of a record held by a number of third parties. They got pages of all her activity in the app, as well as apps connected to her social media profiles such as Facebook 8.
According to Dehaye, the data collected by the app and shared with third parties is used for profiling and can affect your life when asking for a loan, applying for a job, a scholarship, or medical insurance. In the case of Grindr, or other LGBT apps like Her, Gayromeo, etc, it could also be very dangerous if you end up trapped in an airport in one of the 10 countries that punish homosexuality with a death sentence.
Aside from Facebook however, different dating apps allow connections to other social media platforms, specifically: Only one dating app, Belinked, relies on connection to LinkedIn without also connecting to Facebook.
In the bottom part of the map there are several dating apps — from Scruff to Elite Singles to Ashley Madison — that apparently do not connect to any social media platform at all. Instead, these dating apps seem to be quite isolated in the app ecology. To the left side of the map, there is a small cluster of Chinese dating apps, including Momo, that only connects to two Chinese social media platforms.
Seeing that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other common platforms are not used in China, it makes sense that the Chinese dating app exists in an isolated ecology when it comes to social media connections. In addition, if the connection is insecure, we can also capture which data points are being shared. The Grindr app communicates with 13 different advertising hostnames, some of which are unencrypted HTTP requests that include plain text user info such as GPS coordinates and type of phone.
It is not easy to determine what accounts are fake or real, for users and app administrators alike. Here, the phone's brand and model, operating system, mobile carrier, device, screen dimensions, Grindr app, gender, age and gps coordinates, are all identifiable: As part of an in-depth research project from which much of the information in this article was derived, Tactical Tech carried out 50 in-depth, qualitative interviews distributed around the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, the US and Latin American regions to users of dating apps from various genders, ages, and sexual orientations, some of which translated excerpts are presented below.
However, one time, while being very conscious of not revealing any extra information, one guy was able to know my name, where I worked and the conferences at which I spoke , just by googling keywords of my first name and the college I went to. It turns out that there I am the only person with that name who graduated from that college.
I'd be nervous to swipe right "like" someone if we had mutual friends because I feel like it would risk them finding out about my sexuality or knowing too many details about my dating life. This isn't strictly related to social media, but Tinder also allows you to choose whether you are interested in men or women, and if you've chosen men it'll only show you other men who are interested in men. This lead to Tinder effectively "outing" a few men I knew in real life, since seeing them on Tinder meant they'd stated they were interested in men.
This could lead to the outing of members of the LGBT community or making sexual behavior public that should not be known by co-workers, family or other people outside the apps. The site claimed to grant privacy, and people believed it, or wanted to. As a result of the data breach, there were suicides and many suffered online harassment.
An investigation carried out by Wired magazine revealed serious security problems in the most popular dating site services used in the UK. Sextortion, stalking, impersonation for revenge or extortion, rape and other sex crimes are problems where the rights of women and others in the LGBT community are not guaranteed.
Some hope on the horizon Not everything is lost when it comes to the digital dating game. This can be more relevant in countries where dating apps are used to entrap users of various taboo proclivites by either security forces for example in Egypt , or right wing homophobic groups for example in Russia. Although this could create additional problems related to social mapping, it could also solve problems like users creating fake profiles to target the gay community.
No more dealing with drunk people or waiting for men to make the first move; the chance to be clear from the start about what you expect from an encounter — a one night stand, just to meet new people, or a long-term relationship. Some respondents in our research said that one of their safety strategies is not to meet the person on the first date in their home: Just by activating the location, or choosing if you are looking for men or women, already reveals more to the contacts than the person is willing to tell.
There are other good safety strategies mentioned by the users from the research, like for example telling friends where you are going, sending them notifications that everything is going well, and avoiding the connection with other apps through the profile. If I feel uncomfortable I can just block them on the app and they can't reach me in any way. It can give anyone with little technical skills and enough bad intentions access to your data. If connecting is unavoidable, use a VPN Try not to connect with other accounts that may give away more personal information about you.
Never open links sent by strangers because they can contain viruses or malware that can steal your data If the conversation is getting exciting, leave the chat and invite your crush to move to a safer platform like Wire https: If you can, keep that person updated about how things are going. There is no strategy that will give you total safety when using a dating app. However, this is also true for meeting people offline.