Is your Grindr data safe in Chinese hands? – former employees don’t think so

Since Grindr has been sold to the Chinese company Kunlun for almost a hundred million dollars, the company is being widely criticized for its privacy policy. A couple of former employees decided to open up about the manner in which the gay dating app is handling the data of the (in some cases vulnerable) users.
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LA Magazine spoke to numerous ex-employees of the dating app. They paint an image of a company where the privacy of its users is not a top priority. One of the former staff members tells the magazine: ‘’There’s no world in which China is like, ‘Oh, yes, a Chinese billionaire is going to make all this money in the American market with all of this valuable data and not give it to us’.”

Even the FBI is said to breathe down Grindr’s neck. LA Magazine’s sources claim the feds are reaching out to former employees for information about the security of its data and the motivations of its owner. “The big question the FBI is trying to answer is: Why did this Chinese company purchase Grindr? Did they really expect to make money, or are they in this for the data?”

Data collected by the app include the user’s location, conversations, and – of course – the infamous ‘explicit pictures’. Former head of information security, Bryce Case Jr., said: “It wouldn’t be hard at all for a government to scrape data on Grindr that reveals identities and location. The real fear, though, is that someone [from Kunlun] could just walk into Amazon headquarters, demand the hard drives, and fly them off to China.”

Former staff members also express their concerns that the matter of privacy has been fading into the background with the change of ownership. The increasingly straight board of the company is said to have lost eye for the social aspect of the app. LA Magazine writes that the founder of Grindr was not available for comment, but several sources say he is “heartbroken” about the state of the company.


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