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Dating site promises 100% anonymity, shares hundreds of thousands of profiles

Dating site promises 100% anonymity, shares hundreds of thousands of profiles
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Online dating is nothing new. In fact, it's more popular than ever. OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and MatureSinglesUSA are just a few players in the game. No matter what your interests are or what you are looking for, there's a niche site that will suit your needs.

For some, that niche site was PositiveSingles.com, a dating site for people with STDs that promises 100% anonymity.

Can you guess what comes next?

PositiveSingles.com has been found guilty of sharing user profiles and was issued a $16.5 million fine for "fraud, malice and oppression."

It all started in 2011 when one PositiveSingles user, known as John Doe, found that his profile was showing up on a few different sites including AIDSDate, Herpesinmouth, ChristianSafeHaven, MeetBlackPOZ and PositivelyKinky - all operated by parent company SuccessfulMatch.com.

Here's a screen shot of SuccessfulMatch.com promoting its affiliate program on its home page:

successful match

How could PositiveSingles get away with this despite promising 100% anonymity and confidentiality? It was in the fine print. The sharing of profiles was outlined in PositiveSingles' term of service.

"Plaintiff is... not black, gay, Christian or HIV positive and was unaware that defendant was creating websites that focused on such traits that would include his profile, thus indicating that he was all of these things and more," his lawyers said.

Doe's argument here was that nobody reads the terms of service, and the jury agreed. PositiveSingles was ordered to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages and another $15 million in punitive damages.

It goes to show you that when you're using online services, you need to make sure you know the ins and outs of the fine print. The Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and License Agreements tell you if a site stores your information, how it's shared and how it's used.

Terms of Service; Didn't Read (TOS;DR) is a site that rates and labels popular websites according to their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. It keeps you informed so that you can make the best decisions about what sites you want to use.

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Source: BBC
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