Online dating is scary enough. When you create your account you already feel vulnerable. You're putting yourself out there for the world to see - or at least to hopefully catch the eye of a potential match.
But one thing you don't expect when you create your profile is for your personal information to be scraped from the site. Especially by a research company that then uploaded the information to Open Source Framework.
That's what happened recently to around 70,000 users of the dating app, OK Cupid. Without permission of the app owners, or even consent from the users, Danish researchers collected so much profile information, it's shocking.
Over a period of around four months, these researchers collected information on OK Cupid users, including key identifiers from their profiles. Usernames, ages, gender, religion, and even answers to the questions asked about the users' personalities and preferences, were all collected by this outside party.
What's worse is that it was only discovered once the Danish researchers uploaded the information they'd collected to Open Source Framework.
Open Source Framework is a platform that collects and shares data for groups and companies conducting research. And although users of the platform can control what information is private and what is public, it's still disturbing that this information was collected and gathered without anyone's permission.
One of the worst parts about this breach is that the usernames of the individuals were included in the recorded information, which means users can be easily tied to the data - some of which includes things related to their sexual preferences.
In response, OK Cupid has gone on record stating it is pursuing legal actions against the Danish researchers.
But, in the meantime, those users whose profiles were exposed are still vulnerable. So far, the information has been downloaded almost 1,000 times by groups who want to analyze it.
Curious about other ways your information is at risk? Listen to this podcast: