If you’ve never heard of Grindr, you likely aren’t a member of the gay community. Grindr is a dating app used by gays, bisexuals, transgendered and all the other allied acronyms and has been popular since it was launched in 2009. On January 6, 2018 the Chinese firm Kunlun announced it was buying up remaining shares in order to takeover 60% of the company. While Grindr has promised to continue to abide by US privacy laws, Kunlun is subject to Chinese laws. The Washington Post reports, “Under Chinese law, the Chinese government can argue that for “public security” it can compel companies to hand over private information, and it can define “public security” as widely as it wants… Recently, the Chinese government has been increasing its capability to use all types of personal data collected abroad,” said Shanthi Kalathil, director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy.
I’m not familiar with the application so I do not understand what information the application collects. But at the very least it will collect enough personal details such as a photo and locations that put together would enable a Chinese intelligence service to narrow down to a specific individual. If that person worked at place of interest to Chinese intelligence, it could provide numerous avenues for potential blackmail – or worse.
While Russia seems to inspire fear among security experts and politicians, for all intents and purposes it is broke. China is not, and the Chinese intelligence services have been able to operate pretty much “under the radar” in the West without too much hindrance. Now they have their own “gaydar” app. Users in the military and in cutting edge technology take note.
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