Grindr Allowed Third-Party Companies to See Users’ HIV Status

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Yesterday, “BuzzFeed” broke the news that Grindr, the dating app aimed at gay men, had been selling users’ data to two third-party companies. Among the data sold were users’ HIV status.

Grindr admitted that it sold data to Apptimize and Localytics. (No word on how these companies were using the data.) Grindr users can provide their HIV status and date of their last HIV test in their profile on the app. The two third-party companies would’ve had easily identifiable information because the HIV status data was sent along with “users’ GPS data, phone ID and email.”

Norwegian research nonprofit company SINTEF was the first entity to find the problem.  Though Grinder said that the information sent was encrypted (simply put, made into a code that’s not easily broken), the company also revealed that the data provided from Grindr could be further hacked.

In recent months, Grindr has made more strides related to HIV. The app nows offers ad-targeting to HIV-testing websites, and users can sign up for HIV-test reminders.

Though Grindr announced plans later yesterday to discontinue sharing HIV data with the third-party companies, the damage has already been done. It will be interesting to see if this data breach will affect the app’s number of users in the near future.

Grindr reports 3.6M+ “daily active users” worldwide.

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The Philippines Might Get Access to Free Birth Control

Birth control pills (Salon)

Birth control pills (Salon)

Women in the Philippines might soon get access to free birth control.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order for women of the country to receive free birth control, as well as access to further reproductive health services.

The order implements the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012, which promotes family planning with the support of the state. It was signed into law that year. The order took 13 years to be signed into law (so it was introduced in 1999…yikes).

It’s estimated that there are currently 6M women without birth control within the country, with 2M women classified as poor. There are 24 live births per every 1K people, giving the country the 66th highest birth rate in the world. Considering that abortion is illegal, the need for some form of birth control is high:

More than half of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and more than 90 percent of unintended pregnancies occurred in the absence of modern contraceptive methods.

Duterte’s goal is to completely eradicate any “unmet family planning needs” by 2018.

Poland Votes Against Abortion Ban

Polish protest against proposed abortion ban (Religion News)

People demonstrate against the Polish government’s plan to tightening the abortion law in Krakow, Poland April 3, 2016. The signs read: “I’m giving birth from love not from being forced” and “My womb does not belong to homeland” (R). REUTERS/Lukasz Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta

Last week, Poland voted against a proposal to completely ban abortion.

This is significant because Poland has stringent rules as to when abortions could be used: only in “cases of rape, incest, a threat to the life of the mother or irreparable damage to the fetus.” Poland has one of the strongest policies against abortion in Europe. Right now, that rule still stands, though the total abortion ban has not moved forward with the country’s Law and Justice ruling party.

The proposed ban would’ve carried a five-year prison sentence both for women undergoing the abortion and their doctors who assisted.

The day before the ruling, Polish women turned out in enormous numbers to protest the proposed ban. It’s estimated that Warsaw, the Polish capital, saw around 30K+ women protesting. There were also protests around the country, with many women not going to work and many offices had to shut down for the day.

The proposed abortion ban came from a petition signed by 450K+ people. This represents 1.2% of Poland’s 38M+ residents.

A recent poll, taken before the protest and subsequent ruling, found that 74% of Polish residents don’t want the current abortion laws to change.

Geraldine Roman is the Philippines’ First Transgender Congresswoman

Filipina Congresswoman Geraldine Roman (CNN)

Filipina Congresswoman Geraldine Roman (CNN)

The Philippines made history earlier this month when the country’s congress elected its first transgender member.

Geraldine Roman won her seat with 62% of the vote, judging by reporting from 99% of districts, and she’ll represent the northern Bataan province’s first district.

Roman’s platform included banning any anti-LGBT discrimination and making gender changes legal.

This is a giant progressive step for a country in which divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage are illegal. It’s also illegal for a transperson to change their name and sex. There have also not been any gay or lesbian politicians serving at the national level.

The U.S. Department of Justice Sues North Carolina over Controversial LGBT Law

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (WCNC)

The federal government has spoken, and it is not happy. Yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the state of North Carolina over its controversial HB2 law.

Quick recap: the non-infamous law bars any anti-discrimination legislation against any members of the LGBT community. Also commonly known as the “bathroom bill,” the law also decrees that any transgender person must use the bathroom of their assigned sex at birth instead of the one with which they identify. (For example, a transwoman would use the men’s restroom, regardless of her physical appearance.)

But what happened first is that the DOJ (led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina) gave North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, a.k.a. the one who started this whole mess, until Monday morning to negate the horrid new law. And guess what McCrory didn’t do?

Instead, McCrory decided to sue the DOJ, claiming that there needs to be legislation regulating “transgender bathroom use” (??) at the national level.

So guess what the DOJ did? The DOJ sued North Carolina right back.

This wasn’t completely out of the blue. The DOJ had previously threatened legal action if HB2 wasn’t repealed. The DOJ is now suing on the grounds that the bathroom restrictions discriminate against transgender people (no shit).

I’m very interested to see how this will play out. I have no doubt that justice will prevail, and McCrory will end up on the wrong side of the law/history. But how long will it take, and what other complications could come up?