Dating picture services
While there haven’t been reports about a hack of the straight-themed sister app, Blendr, security experts speculate that it suffers from a similar vulnerability. While this isn’t the case for every online dating site, Ok Cupid profiles are public by default and indexed by Google.
If you decide to sign up for a dating site, consider taking a few steps to make it harder for a dating site to easily identify you.
Get a throw-away email address, avoid using your name, and avoid paid sites that would elicit your credit card number and billing information.
But in Bonneau’s experiment with 16 popular websites, removing the photo from the main website didn't always remove it from the Content Delivery Network; in those cases, anyone who still had the destination URL would be able to view the photo.
This means that Content Delivery Networks can maintain caches of sensitive photos even after users “delete” them, leaving photos vulnerable to being rediscovered or even hacked in the future.
In fact, dating sites have an impetus for maintaining your informationwhat if things don’t work out and you want to reactivate your profile in a few months?
But having your data hanging around on a company’s servers, even if they aren’t actively serving that content to the web at large, raises a host of privacy issues.
If you use a photo on your dating site that can be associated with one of your other online accounts—for example, if it had previously been shared on your Facebook profile or Linked In profile – then your real identity could be easily discovered.
Face it (no pun intended): there are a number of ways your online dating profile can be connected to your real identity, especially if you have a robust online life. Before uploading a photo, consider whether you’ve used it in other contexts.
Try searching for the image using Tin Eye and Google Image Search before uploading it.
And be aware that search technology and facial recognition technology is rapidly evolving.
This might be a particular concern for individuals who use niche dating sites, such as HIV-positive or queer dating sites. Your data is helping online marketers sell you stuff.