The Full Story on Grindr
With over 400 customers, each of our clients decides how to build their apps and which features they want included. The app users volunteer the information they want to include in the app service. On a dating app, for example (which Grindr is) users can opt into providing things like their hair color, height, religious affiliation, etc.
Grindr sends us a variety of user profile data for analytics and message targeting purposes. The “HIV status” data that Grindr users were providing to the app was sent to Localytics obfuscated – a coded value was put in place of the user’s status. No one outside of employees at Grindr who knew what the coded values meant could have used the data to determine a user’s HIV status. [UPDATE 4/5/18 – This data is obfuscated only in the Android app and not their iOS app. Localytics takes several measures to keep customer data safe, however, contrary to the last statement in this paragraph, obfuscating these values does not provide greater protection to this data than we already provide.]
Grindr was using this data as a way to confirm that their own systems were capturing changes to user profiles correctly. They would look up the number of users with various combinations of profile values in Localytics and compare them to the numbers in their own systems. If the numbers didn’t match, then the engineers at Grindr would know that their systems weren’t accurately recording the profile changes users were making.
We Strongly Support Data Privacy
We support all of the recent attention being given to how companies are using personally identifiable information. This isn’t a “new” thing to us. We consider privacy as a human right ahead of commercial gains, and have so for years. At Localytics, personal information is solely used to deliver more relevant mobile communications. We’ve had the opportunity to makes tons of money selling data and we just don’t do it because it’s not what we stand for.
We encourage any of our customers who have any questions about what data they are sending Localytics to reach out to us.