May 122016
 
 May 12, 2016  Breaches, Business, Featured News, Online

Brian Resnick writes:

A group of researchers has released a data set on nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid. The data dump breaks the cardinal rule of social science research ethics: It took identifiable personal data without permission.

The information — while publicly available to OkCupid users — was collected by Danish researchers who never contacted OkCupid or its clientele about using it.

The data, collected from November 2014 to March 2015, includes user names, ages, gender, religion, and personality traits, as well as answers to the personal questions the site asks to help match potential mates. The users hail from a few dozen countries around the world.

Read more on Vox.

This strikes me as just so very wrong on so many levels. Should OKCupid try a takedown notice, should they sue, what? And what difference would it really make at this point for those whose details were already scraped and have been downloaded? Maybe OKCupid needs to do something as a deterrent for future situations, but this is…. sickening.

  5 Responses to “Researchers just released profile data on 70,000 OkCupid users without permission”

  1. There are more serious concerns with OK Cupid in last 6 weeks. A graduate UK student strategically was able to hack and skew his results in order to meet more women based on personality.

    The second issue has to do with a question that was asked to users. Do you think its okay for people with a low IQ to reproduce? A disability rights group in UK has been petitioning to demand an apology.

    I found all of this information out last night after I heard about the 70,000 user information breach. Did a Google search

    • Yes, I was aware of the previously disclosed hack. As to the tastelessness of the question, well, as much as EU groups may demand an apology, over here, they have every right to ask that question as it presumably may help match people who share views on issues.

      OKCupid actually had a more serious issue with their own research that I blogged about two years ago: http://www.pogowasright.org/okcupids-research-what-privacy-should-users-expect/

      • Just read the link you left. As far as the inconsistent findings, sounds like they are trying to find a strong validation for their algorithm formula. I did some research, & people get a % match compatibility to others. The other dating sites do not have that. It doesn’t sound like a privacy issue but more of not having strong validated research to back up their theory.

        As for the tastelessness of the
        question, I do get that they have the right to ask any kind of
        question, dumb or not. I am all for people sharing their thoughts and opinons, even if I dont agree or if its mean. (although i usually call people out on
        mean remarks)

        However, I still think they should release some kind of
        statement acknowledging the person’s/ groups reactions to it. Ignoring and not addressing the issue, I think “could” make it worse

  2. As for thAt weird hack, its just a little or Maybe its big creepy. That gives me the chills.

  3. Daily Mail UK just released OK Cupid’s statement, who said they are looking to explore legal options. I am in the middle of sending all of this information to people I know who are on OK Cupid.

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