Russia demands Tinder hand over data on dating app users to intelligence agencies

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Tinder will have to comply or face being blocked in Russia.

Russia is requiring dating app Tinder to hand over data on its users — including messages — to the national intelligence agencies, part of the country’s widening crackdown on internet freedoms.

Key points:

  • Tinder is one on a list of online services that must provide user data on demand
  • The dating app will have to cooperate with Russian authorities or be blocked
  • Russia adopted a flurry of legislation in recent years tightening control over online activity

The communications regulator said on Monday (local time) that Tinder was included on a list of online services operating in Russia that are required to provide user data on demand to Russian authorities, including the FSB security agency.

Tinder, an app where people looking for dates swipe left or right on the profiles of other users, will have to cooperate with Russian authorities or face being completely blocked in the country. 

The rule would apply to any user’s data that goes through Russian servers, including messages to other people on the app.

Tinder was not immediately available for comment.

Russia’s crackdown on internet freedom

A close up photo of a phone with dating apps like Tinder, Grindr and Bumble on the screen.

Russia adopted a flurry of legislation in recent years tightening control over online activity.

Among other things, internet companies are required to store six months’ worth of user data and be ready to hand them over to authorities.

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Russian authorities last year issued an order to ban messaging app Telegram after it refused to hand over user data.

Some top Russian officials, including the FSB chief, attacked Telegram, claiming “extremists” used the platform to plot terrorist attacks.

Despite authorities’ attempt to block Telegram, it is still available in Russia.

Social network LinkedIn has also refused to comply with requirements that personal data on Russian citizens be stored on servers within Russia.

But in 2016, a court ordered that LinkedIn be blocked.

A total of 175 online services are on the Russian authorities list requiring them to hand over user data to Russian authorities. 

Most are small websites in Russian regions.

Popular messaging services such as WhatsApp or Facebook messengers are not on the list.

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