- Russia’s internet censorship body has put Tinder on a list of companies who have to share their user data with the Kremlin.
- This means the FSB, Russia’s main security agency, could be privy to the personal information of the app’s more than 50 million users worldwide — not just in Russia.
- Tinder could refuse, which other internet companies have done. It did not respond to a request for comment.
- Russia has recently intensified efforts to monitor the internet; it banned encrypted messaging app Telegram in May 2018, and in May 2019 it began creating a closed-off internet just for Russia.
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The Russian government has requested access to all of Tinder’s user data, which could let security services see private messages and photos.
The list, started in 2014, names 175 companies required to submit data to the government, and is controlled by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state censorship office.
According to BBC Russia, websites on the list must provide access to "correspondence, audio, video and other user materials." The data is used by bodies including the FSB, Russia’s internal security agency.
The list mandated by Russia’s federal law 149-0З, which mainly focuses on eliminating extremist online material.
Tinder is yet to offer public comment, and has not responded to a request from Business Insider.
Tinder’s privacy statement on it’s Russian language website makes it clear it collects and processes text, audio, and video from chats.
They also say: "We may disclose your information, if necessary, to: a) execute court decisions, such as a court order, subpoena or search warrant, government / law enforcement investigation, or other legal requirements; b) assist in the prevention or detection of crime (in each case, according to the current legislation); or c) to protect the security of the user."
Russian authorities have been tightening their grip on what is allowed online.
In 2018 they banned the encrypted messaging app Telegram when it refused to share data after being placed on the same government list.
And on May 1, Vladimir Putin signed a bill which triggered the process of trying to create a closed "sovereign internet" just for Russia.
Rights groups fear the plan will see Russia follow China into implementing a highly censored internet which is also used to surveil citizens.
Over 50% of Russians said they are against the new internet proposals when asked, the state-funded VTsIOM pollster found.
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