But Dan Goodlin reported for Ars Technica that automatically disabling the distance function doesn’t actually solve the problem.Grindr could implement protections that stop users from changing their own location repeatedly, or introduce some rounding error to make other users’ locations less precise.While you probably already know that you need to be aware of scammers who take to dating sites and apps to lure unsuspecting victims into financial fraud, you may not be aware that online dating companies themselves don’t have the greatest reputation for protecting your privacy.
But it’s probably not much better that some online dating companies have some pretty deceptive and unethical practices when it comes to getting new users to sign up for their services via popular social networks like Facebook.
A CBC report about a married woman who found that Zoosk created a profile for her when she clicked on a Facebook ad made the rounds online, gathering sympathy from other users who were similarly duped and then had explaining to do when their significant others’ discovered that they’d accidentally signed up for a dating service.
Even worse than the privacy risks inherent in Tinder’s Facebook login system is the series of security vulnerabilities that aren’t that far in the dating app’s past.
As Anthony Wing Kosner reported for Forbes in 2014, the feature that enables users to find potential matches nearby also put them at risk of stalking.
However, the login also made it easy for countless users to click an ad or take a quiz (an “IQ test” was cited by several users) and inadvertently create a profile on the dating site, which they’d only realize when they were bombarded with messages from matches.
Zoosk denied creating profiles without users’ permission, and explained that users have to explicitly grant permission for Zoosk to use their data during the signup process.That’s a major security flaw that should have the company worried, but Grindr didn’t react as you might expect.The team refused to make any comment outside of the several blog posts it wrote on the topic of security, saying that the app’s “geolocation technology is the best way for users to meet up simply and efficiently” and “as such, we do not view this as a security flaw.” Users can disable the “show distance” option on their profiles, and the app began automatically hiding the distance of users in “territories with a history of violence against the gay community,” including Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.Users who want to keep their Tinder hookups separate from what they do on Facebook are left with limited options for minimizing the connection — since logging in to Tinder with Facebook that means that your Tinder matches can easily find you on Facebook, the social network can broadcast that you’re using Tinder, and the dating app can set you up with Facebook friends.As Katie Knibbs reports for The Daily Dot, there are a few precautions you can take and privacy settings you can change to preserve the confidentiality of your Tinder usage.Depending on your privacy settings, your profile can be indexed by search engines, and services like Google Image Search can connect the photos on your profile with your real identity, as Carnegie Mellon researchers demonstrated.