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Grindr Apologizes For Sharing HIV Data

Grindr

Grindr has issued an apology.

Jack Harrison-Quintana, vice president of Social Impact at Grindr, released a video on Grindr.com as well as its app, "apologizing from everyone here at the Grindr team for all of the distress that we’ve caused over the last 48 hours."

The gay hookup app sparked furor this week, after BuzzFeed reported it was sharing the HIV statuses of its users with two third-party vendors, Apptimize and Localytics, which optimize apps.

SINTEF, a Norwegian nonprofit organization, discovered this data had been sent after performing a test of potential privacy leaks on Grindr in February. A representative blasted the share as an unnecessary risk to user security and an act of "incompetence."

In response, Harrison-Quintana reiterated statements made by other Grindr representatives, assuring users that the app does not sell user data to advertisers, and that Apptimize and Localytics are "well-respected companies who take privacy and security as seriously as we do." Regardless, he made a formal announcement of a change to business policy, which had been previously reported by Axios.

"From now on, HIV status data will be isolated from the rest of the information that we have, so that it’s inaccessible to even our most trusted partners who we work with every day," Harrison-Quintana said.

"I came to Grindr because this is a company that’s fundamentally linked to our community. That gives us tremendous power to help the community, and that also comes with tremendous responsibility," he concluded, adding, "We take this very seriously, and invite all your further questions, as we work to rebuild your trust."

Watch the full video and read the full statement below.

I want to start by apologizing from everyone here at the Grindr team for all of the distress that we’ve caused over the last 48 hours. I know that many of you have questions about what happens to the information that you put on your Grindr profile, and I’m going to try to answer some of those questions today.

I want to say at the outset very clearly that we have never and would never sell any user data, especially HIV information, to advertisers or anyone else. Three years ago, I was hired to found Grindr for Equality, with the mission to promote LGBTQ health and human rights all over the world through our platform. And one of the things I heard from users most frequently was that there was a lot of anxiety about bringing up sexual health in conversation, both online and off. Users asked me for additional ways to communicate about HIV status on the app, and so I worked with noted HIV prevention specialists to create profile options that would allow self-reporting of HIV status for any users who wanted to do that.

Disclosing HIV information on Grindr is and has always been completely optional. As I mentioned, Grindr has never, nor would we ever, sell user information, especially about HIV status. The only people who have access to Grindr user information are our trusted contractors who help us roll out new features and deliver relevant messages to our users. They aren’t advertisers. They’re well-respected companies who take privacy and security as seriously as we do. Over the past few days, we’ve heard your concerns. Your privacy and trust are very important to us. And it’s important to me. That’s why we’re making additional changes to keep this data even more secure. From now on, HIV status data will be isolated from the rest of the information that we have, so that it’s inaccessible to even our most trusted partners who we work with every day.

I’ve spent the past 10 years fighting for health, safety, and human rights for queer people all over the world, and I came to Grindr because this is a company that’s fundamentally linked to our community. That gives us tremendous power to help the community, and that also comes with tremendous responsibility. I want to apologize again from me as well as the entire Grindr team for all of the distress that we’ve caused over the past two days. We take this very seriously, and invite all your further questions, as we work to rebuild your trust.

Tags: Business, Grindr, HIV

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