Well, this is more than a little creepy…
Now that Grindr has been fully purchased by Kunlun Group Limited, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of the Chinese video game enterprise Beijing Kunlun Tech Company, a number of former intelligence officials and China experts are on high alert.
According to a new report published by the Washington Post, the acquisition has many officials and experts who track Chinese intelligence and foreign influence operations in the United States more than a bit concerned.
The Chinese government is sweeping up massive amounts of data on not only its own citizens, but also Americans and others, as part of a unique and well-planned effort to build files on foreigners for intelligence purposes.
Peter Mattis, a former U.S. government intelligence analyst and China fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, explains the potential dangers:
What you can see from Chinese intelligence practices is a clear effort to collect a lot of personal information on a lot of different people, and to build a database of names that’s potentially useful either for influence or for intelligence. Then later, when the party-state comes into contact with someone in the database, there’s now information to be pulled.
But Peter Sloterdyk, Grindr’s vice president of marketing, says that “privacy and security of users’ personal data is a top priority” and insists that “Grindr remains a U.S. company governed and protected by the laws of the United States.”
Of course, given who’s in charge of the United States at present, that doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence.
“The problem is that the exact role Chinese firms have in supplying data to the Chinese government is unclear,” said Shanthi Kalathil, director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. “What is assured is that–unlike in a democracy–if the Chinese government demands this kind of data from Chinese companies, the companies have little recourse but to comply.”
What do you think? Is it time to jump the Grindr boat? Share your thoughts in the comments section…