Earlier this month, Chinese tech giant Kunlun Group Limited acquired Grindr, the world's most popular gay dating app, in a $400 million buy out. The purchase took Grindr completely out of the hands of its founder and CEO, Joel Simkhai; one of several shake ups the new owners are bringing to the company, which has placed Yahui Zhou as the interim CEO and Wei Zhou as executive vice-chairman and CFO.
However, the change in ownership has brought more concerns. The sale allows the app and its user information to become an asset of Chinese security services, reports the Washington Post. The Chinese government could demand all of the apps data, including private details of its users. Your dating preferences can now be used "as part of intelligence and foreign influence operations in the United States."
This would not be the first time the Chinese government has seized Americans' information; it hacked the Office of Personnel Management and got sensitive details about 21.5 million American citizens. The Kulun Group also has a history of privacy concerns. Last year its parent company scaled back an acquistion of a Norweigan software company due to concerns that U.S. regulators would refuse the deal due to privacy risks.
Peter Sloterdyk, Grindr's vice president of marketing, told the Post that user privacy and personal data are the app's top priority and they use state-of-the-art technical protections to stop security breaches. The company also has a history of working with NGOs to defend users and has never disclosed their data to the Chinese government nor intends to do so.