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OKCupid Isn't OK for Privacy
By: Jessica Cherok
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Online dating can be scary enough. Add in the unintended exposure of your personal information or private conversations and the whole thing can be downright humiliating.

Recently the popular online dating site OKCupid launched its new Crazy Blind Date feature. The basic concept being that you — in an act of unbridled impulsiveness — name a time and place you’ll be, and some other similarly impulsive OKCupid user meets up with you. Blind date, a la crazy.

Except in addition to getting information about where you’ll be and when, a privacy flaw also made it possible to access users’ email addresses and birth dates. A crazy blind date is one thing, but crazy access to personal information is entirely another.

Unfortunately for OKCupid, the privacy trust issues did not end there. Now there are reports of third-party moderators reading private messages between users, as well as being able to view non-public profile information. While the moderators’ intended purpose is to review flagged material, some took it upon themselves to disclose the information further, namely to sites mocking OKCupid.

So even if you hit it off on your Crazy Blind Date, you risked having the contents of the  private messages between you and your new love interest being eavesdropped upon by a total stranger. And that’s the least creepy scenario because it could end up on thatsnotokcupid.com, one of many sites shaming or parodying the original.

What is the lesson here? Well, there’s probably a lot of them, but let’s go with the most basic — whatever you say, do, and post online runs the risk of being accessed by someone you don’t know, in a way you never intended for it to be. Keep that in mind.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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