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.
National Public Radio (NPR) has committed to inclusive hiring practices by releasing its newsroom diversity data each year. Last month, the diversity data for 2017 was released for 377 employees. All data was self-reported. I also compared these numbers to NPR’s 2016 diversity data.
Here’s the race/ethnicity breakdown:
Change Year-Over-Year – White: -.3%
Change Year-Over-Year – Latino: .7%
Change Year-Over-Year – Black: .8%
Change Year-Over-Year – Asian: -6.%
Two or More Reported: 2.1%
Change Year-Over-Year – Two or More Reported: -.5%
American Indian: .3%
Change Year-Over-Year – American Indian: 0%
Here’s the gender split:
Change Year-Over-Year – Male (%): -1.1%
Change Year-Over-Year – Female (%): +1.1%
Obviously, there are some problems here. The first problem is that the data is self-reported, so we can assume that respondents self-selected to participate. The second problem is that there is not nearly enough diversity on staff. The third problem is that progress towards more diversity is proceeding too slowly. More progress needs to be made!
Shonda Rhimes and Reese Witherspoon (New York Post)
Happy New Year! If you haven’t heard, time’s up on sexual harassment. Time’s Up is also the name of a new initiative launched by 300+ Hollywood women to combat sexual harassment on the job.
The women of Time’s Up work both in front of and behind the camera, and count actresses Reese Witherspoon and Rashida Jones and “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes as supporters.
The initiative takes a many-armed approach, including establishing a defense fund to support women who work in agriculture and service jobs, encouraging penalizing companies whose cultures persist in harassment, and pressuring Hollywood to reach gender parity. Of these three points, the latter is already making headway.
The most visible call to action so far has been encouraging women attending the upcoming Golden Globe Awards to wear black to show solidarity with the victims. (The Golden Globes will take place on January 7, 2018.)
The women behind Time’s Up published an open letter in The New York Times announcing the initiative, signed by its supporters. The initiative’s backers also took out full page ads in The New York Times and Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion.
It is absolutely wonderful to see so many women working together to combat sexual harassment, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
In April, National Public Radio (known colloquially as NPR) released its staff diversity data for 2016. Here were the main findings for that year:
According to NPR’s human resources department, of the 350 employees in the news division as of Oct. 31, 2016, 75.4 percent were white. Asians made up 8.3 percent of the staff, followed by blacks or African-Americans (8.0 percent), Hispanics or Latinos (5.4 percent), those who identified as two or more races or ethnic identities (2.6 percent) and American Indian (0.3 percent).
NPR has been tracking this data since 2012, and it’s interesting to see how the numbers fare on a long-term basis. Spoiler alert: they pretty much flatlined. This falls in line with long-term newsroom diversity trends. Per the American Society of News Editors (ASNE): “In 2016, minorities comprised about 17 percent of employees at daily newspapers and 23 percent at online-only sites.” Pretty bad.
Here’s where NPR falls in comparison to other media:
NPR is behind The Washington Post (31 percent diverse) and The Los Angeles Times (34 percent). At 25 percent diverse, NPR is just above The New York Times newsroom, which is about 22 percent diverse.
Newsroom diversity has become part of a larger conversation regarding workplace, and companies publicly releasing they diversity data. But some newsrooms are refusing to disclose their data. The ASNE reported that 737 newsrooms responded with data for the 2016 survey. That’s out of 1.7K+ newsrooms contacted, making a 42%+ response rate.
Halima Aden’s burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, 2016 (WFDD).jpg
In November 2016, Halima Aden competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Naturally, the pageant had the typical swimsuit portion. While other contestants strutted out in colorful bikinis, Aden went in a different direction. The Somalian model chose to put her Muslim faith front and center. She wears hijab, and wore a burkini for the swimsuit portion of the event.
Aden is the first woman to compete in hijab and burkini. Though she didn’t take home the title, Aden’s sartorial choice and adherence to her values made headlines.
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.
WASHINGTON – JANUARY 22: Pro-choice advocates participate in protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building January 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Activists from across the nation gathered to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which decriminalized abortion in all fifty states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Abortion protestors (FIUsm)
A recent study released by the Guttmacher Institute found that the U.S. abortion rate has fallen to its lowest rate since 1973.
The study claims that in 2014, the abortion rate is 14.6 abortions per ever 1K women of childbearing age (defined as ages 15-44). The rate peaked at 29.3 abortions per 1K women in 1980-1981. In 2013, the abortion rate “fell below 1M for the first time since the 1970s.”
Number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (The Guttmacher Institute/NPR)
The study also found that 12% of clinics had at least one patient who tried to self-induce her abortion. There was no correlation between the closing of abortion clinics and more restrictive abortion laws by state. In areas where more abortion clinics opened, there was not a higher abortion rate.
There appears to be a substitution effect at work, with other birth control methods taking the place of abortion. Most notable is that of the intrauterine device (IUD), which has gained in usage over the past several years.
But why 1973? 1973 was the seminal year where the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. It’s a good sign that women are using more birth control methods and not having to rely on abortion to get rid of unintended pregnancies.
On his third day in office, Trump showed his hand on female reproductive rights (not like we didnt already know…) He moved to block U.S. aid for organizations that “promote” abortion. In this case, “promoting” abortion means presenting it as a viable option and/or providing abortion counseling.
Similar rules have been in place since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan instituted the first rule known as the Mexico City policy. (The policy was named for the location in which Reagan announced it.) Depending on which party is in office, the bill has been repealed (by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and reinstated (by George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush).
Despite the fact that the policy has been around for over 30 years, it’s unclear whether it’s actually working:
Health experts say the policy has not led to a decline in abortions in the affected countries. Some research suggests that it has had the opposite effect: increasing abortion rates by forcing health clinics to close or to restrict contraceptive supplies because of lack of funding. Others say the restriction only heightens the risk of illegal and often unsafe abortions.
A study completed by the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2011 found that the Mexico City policy was “linked to increases in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries.” But the study also found that it was difficult to link a country’s abortion rates back to the policy.
Recent data shows that Asian-Americans are leaving the Republican party to vote Democrat.
Through the 1990s, Asian-Americans were more likely to vote Republican. It’s thought that Asian-American generally voted for the Republican candidate due to connecting with fiscally and socially conservative platforms. Asian-Americans voted Republican around 55% of the time during the 1992 presidential election between Republican George H.W. Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton (who ended up winning). The 2000 election became a turning point when more Asian-Americans began supporting the Democrat candidate. In 2012, Barack Obama won with Asian voters by “nearly 50 percentage points.” Karthick Ramakrishnan of the National Asian American Survey attributes this outcome to Democrats actively trying to win the Asian-American vote.
Party Identification Among Asian-Americans (NPR)
Over time, Asian-Americans gravitating towards the Democrats doesn’t seem like a big deal, and more like a natural shift over time. Except that it might not be. This fact becomes more important in this election where surveys have shown Asian-Americans rejecting many points of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s platform: keeping out and deporting immigrants, diplomacy with China, among other aspects.
But it’s too early to tell whether this shift for Asian-Americans toward the Democrats is a blip on the radar or foretelling a larger, more long-term trend. According to Ramakrishnan, it’s too early to tell. In 2015, 47% of Asian-Americans identified as politically independent.
In October 2016, a survey found that registered Asian-American voters supported Hillary Clinton over Trump by a 4-to-1 lead.