It’s generally accepted in today’s society that once something is put online, it is no longer private. Most people are cautious about what they put on their social media profiles because they understand that employers or other people can access those profiles. However, are people equally cautious about their online dating profiles?
Privacy on Tinder; Searching for People
Tinder, a relatively new dating app, has gained tremendous popularity because of its simplicity and ease of use. It allows a person to decide if they’re interested in another user based off a picture, and to express interest by “swiping right.” However, a user can’t send a message to another user until they’ve each swiped right for the other. And, unlike other dating apps, Tinder doesn’t allow users to search profiles by username or email address, so it’s tough to find specific users. Many people might think that this makes Tinder a more secure or more private service, and that their profiles are safe. Sadly, this is not the truth.
New App, Swipe Buster, Trouble for Tinder?
A couple of weeks ago, a new website called “Swipe Buster” was introduced. For $5, this site allows people to see if a specific person is active on Tinder by searching their first name, age, and location. At first glance, one might think this is a violation of privacy or that the system is hacked, but this information is actually public. Tinder’s app programming interface (API) and database are public and accessible with simple effort from a person who understands computer coding, and the API is what stores each user’s name, age, location, and relevant information. No illegal methods or hacking were necessary to create Swipe Buster, which was specifically made to show people that the information people are sharing on Tinder is not as private as they think, even in an app that has no search feature and that only shows other users who are nearby and compatible. Swipe Buster proves that despite Tinder’s premise and usual user interface, the information that a user puts into the app can be easily accessed.
Swipe Buster’s creator told Vanity Fair that the purpose of creating Swipe Buster was to demonstrate how much supposedly-private data is easily available, even when users aren’t aware of it. While app developers don’t necessarily have to make their APIs and databases private, and in fact often intentionally leave them public, a public API can be a scary thing to an app user who knows the potential consequences of having personal information available online.
For more information about privacy concerns or violations and how you can protect yourself, contact Revision Legal’s team of experienced internet attorneys through this form or by calling 855-473-8474.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Daniel Pesaresi.