What will you do when one day, you find out that your sexual activities and preferences, mood information, and intimate data are out in the open and being used to manipulate what you see on the Internet?
That's exactly what is happening with your personal data when you use dating apps Grindr, Happn, OkCupid, and Tinder and fertility tracker apps Clue and MyDays for women, according to report by Forbrukerrådet.
The Norwegian government commissioned tech company Mnemonic to investigate how the hugely popular apps transmit data to third parties. It discovered that these apps leak users' personal data to 216 different companies, possibly without the users' consent.
Grindr has 30 million downloads based on data from 2017. Happn claims to have 50 million users in 40 countries around the world as of 2018. Meanwhile, popular matchmaking app Tindr has 57 million users in 2018. OkCupid claims to have over 50 million users, most of whom are Millennials.
Mood tracking and period tracking apps for women have also been tagged. Clue and MyDays shared users' intimate personal data with numerous companies.
According to the report, the hugely popular apps share sensitive users' data with tech giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter, among hundreds of other companies or third parties.
Although the aforementioned apps have strict protocols regarding how they handle your personal data, the hundreds of third-party apps with whom they share your information may not have the same rules and could have different purposes for collecting people's sensitive information.
"The large amount of personal data being sent to a variety of third parties, who all have their own purposes and policies for data processing, constitutes a widespread violation of data subjects' privacy," said the Norweigian Consumers Council which commissioned the investigation.
"Even if advertising is necessary to provide services free of charge, these violations of privacy are not strictly necessary in order to provide digital ads. Consequently, it seems unlikely that the legitimate interests that these companies may claim to have can be demonstrated to override the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject," it added.