The precise movements of millions of users of the gay-dating app Grindr were collected from a digital advertising network and made available for sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
The information was available for sale since at least 2017, and historical data may still be obtainable, the people said. Grindr two years ago cut off the flow of location data to any ad networks, ending the possibility of such data collection today, the company said.
The commercial availability of the personal information, which hasn’t been previously reported, illustrates the thriving market for at-times intimate details about users that can be harvested from mobile devices. A U.S. Catholic official last year was outed as a Grindr user in a high-profile incident that involved analysis of similar data.
National-security officials have also indicated concern about the issue: The Grindr data were used as part of a demonstration for various U.S. government agencies about the intelligence risks from commercially available information, according to a person who was involved in the presentation.
Clients of a mobile-advertising company have for years been able to purchase bulk phone-movement data that included many Grindr users, said people familiar with the matter.
Read on (August 2021): Dating changed during the pandemic — Tinder users have already set two records this year
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