TINDER USERS are used to unreasonable demands, like 'send nudes', but Russia has gone one step further and has ordered the hookup dating app to hand over user data on demand.
The Associated Press reported that the nation's communications regulator, the Russian Communications Oversight Agency, has popped Tinder onto a list of online services that are required to hand over data at the request of Russian authorities, notably the FSB security agency; you know, the successor to the KGB.
The rule will apply to Tinder data that passes across Russian servers, including things like saucy messages between users. And under the rules Russia imposes on other online companies, Tinder will likely be forced to store metadata relating to its users for at least six months, alongside messages in various formats between users.
Tinder has said it had registered itself with the comms regulator in order to be compliant with the Russkies snooping ways, but it also said that it hasn't handed any data over to the government. Time will tell if that changes.
Tinder could do a hard swipe left on the Russian authorities and their somewhat draconian rules. But then it could end up going the way of the Telegram messaging app and end up being kicked out of Russia.
We can imagine if that happens it could end up being a cold and lonely winter for some horny Russian civilians. But then again, they could always drown their sorrows in cheap vodka; a luxury we Brits don't get with our warm pints and over-priced hipster brews.
What's interesting here is that while Russia seems to have a hard-on for Tinder data, it hasn't tried to pull the same stunt with Facebook and WhatsApp. The latter's end-to-end encrypted messaging especially could be seen as a threat to Russia's communication and internet regulation and control.
But we can hypothesise that if Russia did try and impose data access rules on Facebook and its subsidiaries, Zuckerberg's company would blurt a firm 'nope' and let itself get kicked out of Russia. There's a general thinking that kicking out such major services would be a big move for Russian regulators and thus not likely to happen on a whim.
Regardless, popping Tinder on a we-might-want-your-data list is yet another move by Russian authorities to attempt to put more controls on the internet and online services; we doubt Sir Tim Berners-Lee would like the idea of that. µ
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