Previously, the worst thing you had to worry about when using the hookup app Grindr was being horribly murdered. But now that a China-based technology firm has purchased full ownership of the app, Chinese experts and former intelligence officials worry that at any point the anti-gay Chinese government could request all user data to “demand sensitive and embarrassing details on the lives of millions of non-Chinese citizens.” Should Grindr users be worried?
Last week, a Chinese firm called the Kunlun Group acquired full ownership of Grindr, and this reportedly alarmed “officials and experts that track Chinese intelligence and foreign influence operations in the U.S.,” according to The New York Times.
Citing various intelligence experts, The New York Times reports:
The Chinese government is sweeping up massive amounts of data on not only its own citizens, but also Americans and others, as part of a unique and well-planned effort to build files on foreigners for intelligence purposes. … Sometimes, the Chinese government steals the information directly, as it did when hacking the Office of Personnel Management, which gave it highly sensitive details about 21.5 million Americans. But other times … the Chinese government works with Chinese firms abroad or compels them to hand over massive amounts of data illegally.
The Times adds that the U.S. government often worries about the acquisition of American tech companies by Chinese firms, “which are subject to undue influence and control by Beijing.”
Should Grindr users be worried?
While Grindr’s vice president of marketing, Peter Sloterdyk, said, “Grindr has never disclosed any user data to the Chinese government nor does it intend to do so,” an international policy expert has said the Chinese government can demand any kind of data from Chinese companies, citing vaguely defined “public security” concerns, and the companies have little choice but to play along.
This risky proposition follows a recent report that 77% of all Grindr users feel unhappy after using the app. Geez, who wants to hookup when there’s depression, murder and blackmail hanging over your boner?
Featured image FOTOKITA via iStock