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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.
Their business is to sell us gadgets and software, or provide a “free” service while forcing us to watch some ads.
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, for example, collects and stores the sensitive data of its 50 million users worldwide.
Paul-Oliver Dehaye, together with human rights lawyer Ravi Naik and journalist Judith Duportail, analysed the personal data from Duportail’s Tinder profile after asking the company to send it to her.
They got 800 pages of all her activity in the app, as well as apps connected to her social media profiles such as Facebook) .
Regardless of whether a user quits or deletes the app, all this sensitive information could still be retained by Match Group and any affiliates they’ve already shared it with.
If you pay for any additional services or click on ads that appear in the app, you are also giving away your financial information, which is collected by tracking technologies.
If you log in with your Facebook account, another chunk of data is taken from there, like your public profile, email address, “likes”, birthday, relationship interests, current city, photos, personal description, friend list, and information about your Facebook friends who might be common Facebook friends with other Tinder users (that’s why you may sometimes find that Facebook suggests friends who are people you’ve met in dating platforms).
After the allegations, OKCupid said they ceased to do it.
Now think about Grindr, a majority gay men dating app with 3.3 million users, that also includes trans, bisexual and queer people.