Russia requires dating app Tinder to give user data to secret services on demand
Tinder, the popular dating app, is now required to share information of its users – including messages and photos – with Russian authorities, the country’s communications regulator said on Monday.
Under recent Russian laws, 175 companies have been put on a register that requires them to store user data such as encryption passwords, geolocation details, photo and video content for at least six months on Russian servers and hand it over to the law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Security Service (FSB) when requested. Most are small websites in Russian regions.
Tinder said it had “registered to be compliant”. However, it was obstinate that “this registration in no way shares any user or personal data with any Russian regulatory bodies and we have not handed over any data to their government.”
For those unaware, Tinder, owned by Match Group LLC, allows users to like (swipe right) or dislike (swipe left) other users, and allows users to chat if both parties like each other (a “match”). The information available to users is based on pictures, a short bio, and optionally, a linked Instagram or Spotify account.
In order to tighten control over online activity, Russia has adopted a flood of legislation of which one is where internet companies are required to store six months’ worth of user data and hand it over to authorities when requested.
Last year, Russian authorities had issued an order to ban messaging app Telegram after it refused to give state security access to its users’ secret messages. Despite authorities’ attempt to block the website, Telegram is still available in Russia.