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Tinder isn’t as safe as you thought

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Have you ever seen someone you liked and tried to find them online? Or frantically gone through Tinder to try and find that person you think you like? Well that’s kind of creepy but many people do it these days as they do not have the courage to approach someone and tell them they are beautiful for fear of being called a creep or misogynist. The issue with this change in social norms is that you can now search the Tinder user database for £3.50

This new website has been targeted at people trying to find out if their partner is cheating on them, but in my mind it raises questions about its use for nefarious purposes such as stalking. Swipebuster searches for a user’s name, age, sex, and last possible location they were swiping from.

There is not anything sinister going on behind the scenes of this website, although its uses are questionable, it simply uses Tinder’s official API which is intended for use by third-party developers who want to write software that plugs in with the app. The information it receives is considered public by Tinder as all the information on a user’s profile, excluding their bio, is publicly searchable on Facebook.

Given the layout of the website is is also questionable whether its creator was being entirely honest when he told Vanity Fair that he wanted to highlight about oversharing on the internet. “There is too much data about people that people themselves don’t know is available,” he told me over the phone. “Not only are people over sharing and putting out a lot of information about themselves, but companies are also not doing enough to let people know they’re doing it.”

Vanity Fair have tried to hail the developer as a hero similar to those who uncovered the Ashley Madison scandal; making clear that this time no data was breached or accessed illegally. The Ashley Madison scandal not only uncovered cheating partners but also lay bare sensitive personal information about its customers so comparing the two seems unethical at best.

Many people are already aware of oversharing but still chose to do so, for example the world does not need to know about your bodily functions, but this is not the kind of overshare you should be too worried about. When you are on holiday and posting all of those hot-dog legs you are not only telling the world you are having a better day than them, you are also telling that burglar that your house is vacant with all of your expensive possessions.

Admittedly some users are now worried about their privacy, it is one thing that you may be discovered, but it is another that someone can openly search for you. To paraphrase the Guardian, it is one thing people seeing you come and go from your home, but it is another to post your address openly on the internet.

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Christian James-Watkins

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