Privacy In Dating Apps

Different dating apps and sites have different privacy policies and frankly, almost nobody ever care to read them thoroughly.  

Sad reality is that when you leave digital footprints with them, it might come back to haunt you. 

Watch Your Back!

You should be very concerned about your privacy protection and digital safety. 

In the process of signing up on the majority of these dating apps, you are requested to give up certain sensitive information about yourself.  Most of us willingly do without any further thoughts. 

While this might be okay to assist the app administrators to give you services, you should be wary of how the information can be used against you.

For example, a lot of apps or sites have a permanent profile link – which then can be used by other apps to link your profile to additional crowd-sourced attributes from other users. 

For example: your sexual orientation, STD status, willingness for one-night-stands, their anonymous dating experience with you, and any confidential information who should have stayed private.  

Privacy Risks on Dating Apps

Another prevalent data risk is the breach of your privacy when your data is being sold to third parties for very high rates by site administrators whose apps you use for free. 

The risk is so big that some of the applications push out certain surveys whereby you share your data “willingly” with different third parties in exchange for virtual coins to be used for purchases on the sites while they are paid in actual money. 

This ranges from how your home address can be used by stalkers exposing you to the different degrees of harm; to how your pictures can be used for several other things.  

Clearview AI, for instance, has built a thriving business by utilizing public photos and made them available for law enforcement.  Sadly, since the information provided is public and bound by terms and conditions the users’ signed up for, this is considerably legal.

In some rather sad cases, your very sensitive information such as STD status can get into the wrong hands and be used by blackmailers to extort you. The degrees of risk is even more grievous in the instance where the activities carried out on dating sites are against the laws of your jurisdiction, the information you gave out in confidence might as well land you in big trouble.  

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

Until consumer privacy regulations mature, the first duty of your safety lies in your own hands. 

The major thing which almost everyone ignores is that you read and understand the privacy policy before signing up. 

This gives you a good grasp of what to expect, guides your choice of how much information you should give out and allows you to hold the business accountable in case of any breach of your data. There are other tips which include;

  • Make sure you understand whether your data will be made available to public use or private use only
  • Turning off your location settings or using them with strict caution.
  • Avoid taking your chats off the dating apps to your private messaging platforms like WhatsApp, e-mail or Facebook.
  • Create virtual names to use (like the initials of your real name). 
  • And always, be very wary of what you give out about yourself on the internet.

With recent privacy regulations such as GDPR in EU or CCPA in California, the obligation has begun to shift to also include the businesses – they should guard your privacy as a user and offer transparency in dealing with your data.