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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) .In the bottom part of the map there are several dating apps – from Scruff to Elite Singles to Ashley Madison – that apparently do not connect to any social media platform at all.Instead, these dating apps seem to be quite isolated in the app ecology.For example, Tinder makes all encrypted requests over HTTPS, except to serve images.This means that someone monitoring network traffic can see the photos of all the Tinder profiles someone is viewing on the network or even introduce false pictures to the user’s feed.Data promiscuity via social networks Facebook, which has 2 billion users, is the most ‘central’ social media platform, used by many of the dating apps to enable connections, as we can clearly see in the network map below.
In October 2011, an investigation run by Jonathan Mayer, a Ph. candidate in computer science at Stanford University, revealed that Ok Cupid was selling users’ information about drug and alcohol abuse.
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).
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.