Grindr’s Chinese ownership a nationwide security threat, United States federal government apparently states

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LGBTQ dating app Grindr was purchased in 2015 by a Chinese video gaming business called Beijing Kunlun. The United States federal government thinks about the offer a nationwide security threat and is pushing Kunlun to offer, according to a Reuters report.

Kunlun completely obtained the California-based Grindr app in January of in 2015 for an approximated $152 million after purchasing a preliminary $93 million stake in 2016, reported TechCrunch. However, neither of these deals was cleared with the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), according to Reuters.

CFIUS has actually informed Kunlun that its ownership of Grindr corresponds to a US nationwide security threat, the report includes. CFIUS did not instantly react to CNET’s ask for remark. Grindr decreased to comment. 

The particular way in which Kunlun’s ownership makes up a nationwide security risk wasn’t discussed in the report. However, Grindr stated in 2015 it had 3.8 million everyday users from “every country in the world,” probably leaving out nations it’s prohibited in, and 27 million users in overall. Those users’ information might be viewed as a honeypot for unsavoury stars.

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Following its sale to Kunlun last year, Grindr released a public statement preempting user distrust of the app’s new owners. “Nothing changes with how we will protect your personal information,” the company noted.

“CNIUS’s action shows a commendable awareness of the fact that big data is not just a matter of privacy, but also a matter of antitrust,” Guido Noto La Diega, senior lecturer in cyber law at Northumbria University, said to CNET in an email. ” I agree that Grindr’s acquisition from a Chinese tech group exposes the LGBTQ dating app’s users to some privacy and security risks, in light of Chinese laws on security, cybersecurity, and audio-visual content.

“This said, however, one could argue that the move to force Grindr’s sale is not necessarily motivated by actual security and privacy concerns, since Trump has been pushing to strengthen intelligence programs that allow surveillance of targets abroad.”

The reported move follows the US’ systematic blockading of Huawei over similar national security firms. Huawei is known to most for its dazzling phones, but it’s also in the telecommunications business. The US fears that Huawei, if commissioned to build internet infrastructure in the US, could purposefully create security flaws which the Chinese government could at some point take advantage of.

Originally published March 27.
Update, March 28: Adds comment from Guido Noto La Diega.