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Send and receive private messages, pictures, or voice memos. The two companies — Apptimize and Localytics, which help optimize apps — receive some of the information that Grindr users choose to include in their profiles, including their HIV status and “last tested date.”Because the HIV information is sent together with users’ GPS data, phone ID, and email, it could identify specific users and their HIV status, according to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF.(SINTEF was commissioned to produce the report by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, which first publicized the findings.)“The HIV status is linked to all the other information.In December, the company launched an online magazine dedicated to cultural issues in the queer community.The app offers free ads for HIV-testing sites, and last week, it debuted an optional feature that would remind users to get tested for HIV every three to six months.These are standard practices in the mobile app ecosystem,” Grindr Chief Technology Officer Scott Chen told Buzz Feed News in a statement.“No Grindr user information is sold to third parties.That’s the main issue,” Pultier told Buzz Feed News.“I think this is the incompetence of some developers that just send everything, including HIV status.”Grindr was founded in 2009 and has been increasingly branding itself as the go-to app for healthy hookups and gay cultural content.And this information, unlike the HIV data, was sometimes shared via “plain text,” which can be easily hacked.“It allows anybody who is running the network or who can monitor the network — such as a hacker or a criminal with a little bit of tech knowledge, or your ISP or your government — to see what your location is,” Cooper Quintin, senior staff technologist and security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Buzz Feed News.“When you combine this with an app like Grindr that is primarily aimed at people who may be at risk — especially depending on the country they live in or depending on how homophobic the local populace is — this is an especially bad practice that can put their user safety at risk,” Quintin added.Grindr said that the services they get from Apptimize and Localytics help make the app better.“Thousands of companies use these highly-regarded platforms.

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