Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Tinder Data Exposed: What About You?

What's the most embarrassing thing that could be exposed about you online? Oh wait, that's already out there, if one reporter's experience is any indication.

Judith Duportail, reporting for the Guardian, asked for a report from her social media service and she got back way more than she expected. So it was from a dating app, but that was just the tip of the internet iceberg.

Tinder sent her 800 pages of information it had collected on her, including Facebook "likes," Instagram photos, and some very personal details culled from its 50-million-user database. Could that be you, too?

You, Too? App-solutely!

It's not just a Tinder phenomenon. Virtually every phone app has the same kind of information on its users.

"I am horrified but absolutely not surprised by this amount of data," said Olivier Keyes, a data scientist at the University of Washington. "Every app you use regularly on your phone owns the same [kinds of information]. Facebook has thousands of pages about you!"

Ars Technica, commenting on the data dump that included 1,700 "private" messages, said Tinder made its data-collection policy clear to users.

"You should not expect that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure," Tinder used to say. It has since updated its policy and statements about using personal information for "targeted advertising."

Targeted Advertising

Aye, there's the rub. For in that sleep of privacy dearth, what happens to your personal information?

It's on the internet market. One way or another, your information is for sale.

Congress, meanwhile, has stepped back from regulations that would have prevented internet service providers from selling your browsing history. Of course, hackers don't care about regulations anyway.

So the most embarrassing thing about you is probably already out there -- like Duportail discovered. It wasn't necessarily her dating habits that made her cringe, either; it might have been finding out how much time people spent on her picture before swiping.

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