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Grindr says it will stop sharing users' HIV status with third-party companies

Facebook privacy scandal

NEW YORK -- Grindr, the gay dating app, will stop sharing its users' HIV status with third-party analytics companies. Chief security officer Bryce Case told BuzzFeed News on Monday it decided to stop sharing information with Localytics to alleviate people's fears. and had already stopped sharing it with Apptimize.

The two companies were paid to test and monitor how the app is used. Grindr says the firms operated under "strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality." Grindr says data that may include users' location or information from HIV status fields are "always transmitted securely with encryption."

Grindr says it's important to remember it is a public forum and users have the option to post information about their HIV status and date when last tested. It says its users should carefully consider what information they list in their profiles.

The company also takes pains to distinguish this situation from the controversy surrounding the widespread sharing of users' Facebook data with Cambridge Analytica

"There is a major difference between a company like Grindr sharing encrypted data with a software vendor to debug its app, and having it harvested from an outside third party like Cambridge Analytica which is not what is happening here," Grindr said in a statement provided to CBS News.

The dating app is facing a data privacy complaint in Europe, with the Norwegian Consumer Council claiming the company has violated both European and Norwegian data privacy laws.

"Information about sexual orientation and health status is regarded as sensitive personal data according to European law, and has to be treated with great care. In our opinion, Grindr fails to do so," said Finn Myrstad, director of digital services in the Norwegian Consumer Council, in a statement

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