Problem IFFY Addresses

We tracked the activity of 10 popular apps during the period June to November 2019 in order to identify how personal data is transmitted from these apps to commercial third parties. Grindr has come under fire for the most criticism – specifically its links toTwitter’s MoPub, AT&T’s AppNexus, OpenX, AdColony and Smaato – for sharing personal data without sufficient consent. Privacy-wise, the study says Grindr encourages users to read the privacy policy from MoPub; meanwhile, MoPub’s privacy policy recommends that consumers read the privacy policies of the company’s 160 partners in order to understand how their personal data may be used. Twitter took swift action and suspended Grindr from its ad platform on January 15, 2020, saying it would “investigate allegations and assess Grindr’s consent mechanism”. Identity privacy ‘v’ identity trust So, what if you wanted to protect your identity on dating apps from data sharing and analysis practices? If you put your privacy first, it makes online dating virtually impossible, as trust in people being truthful online is vital. Daters need information on their possible partner, visual and factual, to determine whether they might be a match or not. Otherwise, it is like daters putting their hand into the hat and drawing out a nameless, faceless, information-less lottery ticket in the hope it ‘could’ be their dream partner. Let’s get real, that’s not going to work. Then there is an issue fairly unique to Grindr. Grindr is one of the most popular dating apps for gay and bisexual men. And it’s not the first time the app has hit the headlines for data privacy concerns. It came to light in April 2018 that the app was sharing user’s HIV status with third parties, along with location data and email addresses, without their knowledge (Grindr has confirmed this action has since stopped). A severe breach in trust and in this instance, a material danger for many gay people around the world who cannot openly identify as such where homosexuality is still illegal. Self-Sovereign Identity Solution In my view, this is another example of an industry which needs to transform its approach to managing identity data, through incorporating Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) technology into their operational infrastructure. For example, IDWorks has developed a solution which would allow users of the dating app to have direct control and ownership of their profile data.
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