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OPLIN 4cast #566: Swiping left on dating apps

Posted in 4cast

Lurking among the big tech stories this week — the launch of a new iPhone, the unveiling of Amazon Key, a new vulnerability in Wifi transmissions — were a few unrelated stories all orbiting a common theme: dating apps. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that 15% of American adults reported using a dating website or mobile app, with the actual number probably being much higher. Developers are finding increasingly clever ways to match us all up, but where there is data, there is the risk of breaches and other abuses.

  • The Future of Online Dating is Unsexy and Brutally Effective [Gizmodo | Dale Markowitz] “In the future, apps like Tinder may be able to infer more about our personalities and lifestyles through our social media activity than an eHarmony questionnaire ever could capture. Researchers already think they can predict how neurotic we are from our Foursquare check-ins, whether or not we’re depressed from our Tweets and the filters we choose on Instagram, and how intelligent, happy, and likely to use drugs we are from our Facebook likes.”
  • Tonight is a new dating app optimized for real dates [TechCrunch | Anthony Ha] “You sign on when you’re free for a date that very evening. If both you and one of your matches is free, the app will give you a time and a place to meet up. You’ll need to sign in by 6pm to get a date that night, which will hopefully discourage people who are just looking for a hookup. In addition, users get penalized for flaking out, and they’re eventually removed if they keep doing it.”
  • Online dating apps riddled with security risks [ITProPortal | Michael Moore] “The Kaspersky Labs team investigated nine of the leading dating apps, and discovered that many fail to protect users from criminals, who could identify customers through finding out details on social media profiles, or even track them down in the real world using geolocation data.”
  • Gay Dating Apps Are Protecting Users Amid Egypt’s LGBTQ Crackdown [Vice | Mike Miksche] “A recent update to Grindr in Middle Eastern, Gulf and North African areas enables users to change the Grindr thumbnail on their phone into something less conspicuous, and set a passcode to open the app and protect the content inside. And the Egyptian crackdown has prompted Hornet and Grindr to send safety tips to users in Arabic, reminding them to take extra steps to confirm the identity of users they might meet from the app and tell others where they’ll be beforehand.”

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