Tinder recently announced that they are going to offer Identity verification to all members. According to Kim Lyons from The Verge, Tinder has been offering Identity validation to users in Japan since 2019.
Date or Data?
Dating Apps already collect comprehensive and sensitive personally identifiable data (PII). Your name, address, birthday, photos, city, phone number, and email are all part of your online dating profile. But Tinder’s idea to link your driver’s license or passport to your online dating account is sheer lunacy.
I understand the need to ensure that people you meet on dating sites are real, however, what does Tinder validating someone’s driver’s license actually accomplish? Merely proving that someone’s name and birthdate are correct. It certainly doesn’t prove that you are single, married or that you’re not a liar.
Link-up to Hook-up
We have been talking about the danger of linking all your personally identifiable information together in one place for years. Brian Barrett at WIRED identified this risk in a recent piece on a recent 48 Million user record breach at T-Mobile. Brian was referring to the risk of linking your name, address, telephone number, IMEI number, and the physical address of your phone to make sophisticated SMS phishing scams easier.
Let’s not forget that these are dating sites. The very nature of the service Tinder, Match and Bumbl offer means they also know your sexual orientation or preferences, who you are attracted to and who you date. Unfortunately, we live in a world where all people do not have the same freedom of sexual expression that we enjoy in Canada. Depending on where you live, a data breach that links you to your sexual orientation could be a death sentence if exposed.
How many people out there would be tempted to pay Tinder to alert them if their partner was actively looking to hook-up on Tinder? I’m not proposing that Tinder would offer this service, but the fact that they could because of all the personal information they hold, should make an online dater’s blood run cold.
Meet your Match
Unfortunately, few of us have time to actually meet people anymore, but we seem to have time to maintain multiple online dating profiles. We’ve just been through 18 months of pandemic isolation, so perhaps this is the ideal time to drop the match maker algorithm, delete your online dating apps, and take advantage of your newfound freedom to actually meet someone in person before you consider dating them.