Have you ever wondered how much of you personal information do the social networking platforms have?
A French journalist Judith Duportail, recently exposed the popular dating website Tinder for carrying astronomical data about her and all its users. She was surprised to find out that it carries almost 800 pages of personal information about her life.
In what has transpired as an eye opening account about social media, the journalist disclosed that it carries very detailed data including her age, gender, personal interests, her communication with other people, places she visited, and her house address where she has been residing during the last few years.
Once she found out, she contacted a privacy activist group (personaldata.io) and contacted Tinder through a lawyer.
EU laws require companies to submit user data if requested
As per European Union (EU) data protection law, the company is bound to provide any information it carries about a European citizen upon request. Under the protection of Personal Data Directive given by European Commission in May last year, all European citizens have the liberty to access every piece of information about them.
According to the procedure, the user has to send an email to this address (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating very clearly about the type of information the person needs along with the subject of “Subject Access Request”.
This data includes all the personal information the website maintains about the user. Moreover, it also has to include its source, whether it is being used for any purpose and why (has it been sold to third party companies). In addition, the user also has the right to ask about the security of this information.
The Data protection Act 1998 states that all British nationals will continue to have access to information as other citizens of EU even after the drastic change of Brexit. The law also binds Tinder to respond within 40 days once a request has been sent along with a report.
“If you have a Tinder account, you have the ability to review and update your personal information within the Service by opening your account and going to settings. Applicable privacy laws may allow you the right to access and/or request the correction of errors or omissions in your personal information that is in our custody or under our control. Our Privacy Officer will assist you with the access request”
The policy also quotes:
“This includes identification of personal information under our custody or control and information about how personal information under our control may be or has been used by us”
However, in defense of Tinder, it has given a notification this data may be used for advertising purpose. Therefore, users will be naive to assume that their personal information will be kept securely.
The personal story of the French Journalist
Ms. Duportail gave away her personal story to the media stating:
“Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook ‘likes’, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.”
She further added:
“As I flicked through page after page of my data I felt guilty. I was amazed by how much information I was voluntarily disclosing: from locations, interests and jobs, to pictures, music tastes and what I liked to eat. But I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one.”
An expert, Luke Stark, a digital technology socialist gave his views that these websites attract users to reveal their personal information without them realizing it.
“Apps such as Tinder are taking advantage of a simple emotional phenomenon; we can’t feel data. This is why seeing everything printed strikes you. We are physical creatures. We need materiality”.