The gay dating app Grindr was ordered to sell the company owing to national security fears expressed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government body that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations.
The company is owned by the Chinese company Beijing Kunlun Tech (BKT) who took a majority stake in Grindr in 2016.
U.S. officials were concerned that people who use the app with security clearances could be compromised and blackmailed by Chinese intelligence operatives. The company is now up for sale.
BKT paid about $245 million over a couple of years. The company claims to have millions of users and describes themselves as the “largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people” in the country.
OUR FREE OPINION
The company’s privacy practices have come under scrutiny lately over claims that users HIV status and sexual preferences were shared with third parties along with email addresses, geolocations, photographs, and, other private data.
But based upon these software concerns, and allegations made in a past lawsuit (even though it was dismissed ), we are troubled and share the security fears expressed by the government.
We also believe that the automated nature of the company responses to user’s questions eclipses human interaction and increases the chance of privacy invasion and national security risks—especially when China is involved.