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Grindr sold data about users’ precise locations for years: report

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Grindr, the favored gay dating app, sold data that tracked the precise movements of tens of millions of its users starting in 2017, which can have led to the outing of a senior Catholic priest, in accordance with a report.

The corporate told The Wall Street Journal that it ceased sharing data with advertisers starting two years ago by cutting off the flow of any location information.

The info, which was purchased by clients of a mobile promoting company, allowed unknown third parties to know sensitive details about users, including whom they were dating, where they lived and worked, and where they spent their free time.

The Journal reported that the info didn’t include details corresponding to names or phone numbers.

“Since early 2020, Grindr has shared less information with ad partners than any of the large tech platforms and most of our competitors, restricting the knowledge we share to IP address, promoting ID, and the essential information needed to support ad delivery,” a Grindr spokesperson said.

The dating app which numbers tens of millions of users said it stopped the practice two years ago.LightRocket via Getty Images

“Grindr doesn’t share users’ precise location, we don’t share user profile information, and we don’t share even industry standard data like age or gender.”

Last yr, a senior Catholic priest resigned after he was outed as a user of Grindr because of information which was circulated in ad networks.

Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, who was the highest administrator for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, quit after a Catholic news site published a story detailing how he used Grindr and frequented gay bars.

“In accordance with commercially available records of app signal data obtained by The Pillar, a mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted app data signals from the location-based hookup app Grindr on a near-daily basis during parts of 2018, 2019, and 2020 — at each his USCCB office and his USCCB-owned residence, in addition to during USCCB meetings and events in other cities,” the Pillar reported. “Data app signals suggest he was at the identical time engaged in serial and illicit sexual intercourse.” 

The Wisconsin-based priest’s alleged “activity” included attending a “gay bathhouse” in Las Vegas. 

Last year, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a Catholic priest, resigned after he was outed as a Grindr user by a Catholic news site.Last yr, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill, a Catholic priest, resigned after he was outed as a Grindr user by a Catholic news site.Bob Roller/CNS

Before 2020, Grindr shared location-based data with ad networks who would tailor targeted ads that promoted “hyperlocal” businesses like restaurants, bars, or hotels. Grindr executives on the time didn’t consider that the data-sharing would pose any risk to user privacy, in accordance with the Journal.

App users often allow their locations to be detected to be able to higher match with potential dates who live nearby. That data is then shared with an ad network where several advertisers bid to post an ad to users’ phones once they open the app.

There may very well be tons of and even 1000’s of advertisers within the ad network that gain access to real-time details about a user’s precise whereabouts. UM, a mobile-advertising company formerly generally known as UberMedia, purchased data that included the precise movements of Grindr users.

It bought the info from MoPub, an promoting network that was owned by Twitter before it was sold last yr.

“UberMedia was a MoPub partner,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Journal.

“Like all partners they were subject to MoPub’s marketplace agreement and data use restrictions.”

In Jan. 2020, Twitter suspended Grindr from its ad network following a report that it shared intimate personal details about its users with third-party marketers.

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