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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Only 17% of Startups Had a Female Founder in 2017

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Quick, how many female founders of startups can you name (without Googling)? Let’s see, there’s Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal (RIP!), Whitney Wolfe of Bumble, Jenn Hyman of Rent the Runway, and…who else?

Contrast that with how many male startup founders you could name (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc.) and you could go on for days. And that’s without Googling. And without naming their respective companies (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla, in case you’e wondering.)

Why can’t we name more female founders? Do they exist?

Well, yes and no. Crunchbase, a platform that crunches (heh) data for many companies around the world, has been running a study on female founders of start-ups since 2015. And what they found will SHOCK you.

Actually, no it won’t. Only 17% of startups had a female founder as of Q1 2017 (the last recorded study). 17 PERCENT. THIS IS NOT PARITY.

What makes this number worse is that this percentage has persisted since 2012. So women have only have the best seats at the table less than 1/5th of the time for 5 years.

Ladies, let’s start some companies!! Who’s with me?!

Twitter Announces Diversity Goals for 2016

Twitter logo (Design Trend)

Twitter logo (Design Trend)

Last week, Twitter announced its goals to diversify the company’s employees in 2016. The goals focused on increasing the presence of female and non-white employees. For the women, this includes reaching 35% women overall in the company, with 16% of tech roles going to women and 25% of leadership roles getting filled by women. For minorities, the goals are bringing the number to 11% in the overall company, with 9% of tech roles and 6% of leadership roles. Interestingly, the goals for minorities are marked with a literal asterisk, and apply to within the US only. (I’d like to know the reasoning behind that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

This follows Twitter’s identifying and committing to diversity as a workplace issue. Last year, the company shared its diversity numbers. Spoiler alert (or not): it’s a whole lotta white dudes. While the company overall is about 70% male/30% female, it skews more guy-heavy in the tech section. Ethnically speaking, white and Asian employees comprise the largest portions, at nearly 60% and 30% respectively. Employees who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino or as Black or African-American make up only about 5% of the Twitter workforce.

Even though it looks like Twitter’s taking some big steps forward, Julia Greenberg at “Wired” points out that these steps are actually pretty small:

As it stands now, the company already has 34 percent women on its staff, with 13 percent in tech roles and 22 percent in leadership roles—not too far off from its goals. With 4,100 employees worldwide currently, the difference would be adding at least 41 women to reach its overall gender goal (though it would depend on the company’s growth).

Twitter is just the latest in a line of tech companies who’ve released their not-so-diverse data (following Facebook and Google, among others). It’ll be interesting to see how these goals will change due to supply and demand over time.