Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Hornet is a dating app targeted at gay and bisexual men. Unlike its counterpart Grindr, Hornet puts a greater emphasis on privacy for its 30 million users. This seems to be due in part because it is made by members of the gay community for members of the gay community, including their Senior Health Innovation Strategist who admits to living with HIV (in response to Grindr sharing HIV status of their users). Launched in 2011, Hornet is available in many languages including English. Japanese, Spanish, French, Polish, Korean, and more. The app is free to download and use and the features free users get are more robust than many other dating apps, including free messaging for all members, the ability to browser all profiles and upload public and private photos. Seeing who has checked out your profile and searching profiles using filters are included as premium feature.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
Hornet bills itself the better privacy alternative to Grindr for gay and bisexual men looking for hookups and dates. How does it do? Well, to be honest, it's not hard to be better than Grindr when it comes to privacy and protecting users' sensitive personal information. Hornet does do a better job for sure. They don't appear to sell or share users' personal information. They haven't had any known data breaches or leaks in recent years. And in response to the news Grindr was sharing their users' HIV status with outside companies, Hornet specifically put out a statement saying they would never do that, in part because they have members of the company living with HIV who understand just how sensitive that information is. This is all great to see. What wasn't great to see was that Hornet doesn't require a strong password to login to the app -- we were able to use 123456. For a company that touts itself for its privacy and security practices, this is a pretty big flaw. We also weren't able to determine if the app encrypted all the users' messages, location data, chats, and pictures. All in all, Hornet is a much better option for gay and bisexual men than Grindr. It has some flaws we'd like to see fixed, given that it is still dangerous in many parts of the world for gay and bisexual men to live openly.
What can be used to sign up?
Users sign-up with either email or third-party (Apple or Google or Facebook).
What data does the company collect?
Name (required), username (required), location (relative distance or city, region or country), photos (optional), bio (optional), what user are looking for (optional), age (required) ethnicity (optional), sexual role (optional), relationship status (optional), location (optional), HIV status (optional), last tested (optional), comments (optional), engagements, such as likes of posts (optional). Collects data on ethnicity but it doesn't appear that users can filter for it.
Height (optional), weight (optional), finger print (optional)
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known incidents in the last two years.
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
We were unable to determine if they use encryption to protect users' personal information, chats, photos, and more.
We were able to login with the weak password 123456.
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
HIV Data Protection and Breach at GrindrHornet
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