Online Dating Sites: What Are the Safety Concerns and Privacy Rights for Users?

In this new age of internet proliferation and mobile technology, even dating and the once upon a time struggle of Rapunzel and her prince is now made easily with a click of a mouse.


Metro Manila, Philippines -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/11/2014 -- With the advancement in technology, issues like scams, sexual predators, and the most recent concern, location confidentiality, have started to reach lawmakers obliging them introduce legislations that would ensure protection of online dating site users.

Just recently, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn initiated a legislation obliging online dating companies to acquire users’ permission first before accumulating location information from mobile devices and distribute them online. According to Franken, with the growth of the online dating industry, the government needs to catch up and they need to act on promoting Americans’ right to privacy including their location.

There are certain states in the US such as New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois wherein internet dating sites are required to reveal if they have conducted criminal background checks first on users and give them advice regarding security. This aspect of online dating policies is very important with its ever growing number each year. In Asia, for example, the online dating industry in China is expected to be worth 175 million USD. With the proliferation of such businesses, it is the users’ security and privacy which are at risk.

As of date, there are 11% of American adults (38% of which are single and looking) who said they are using the mobile (online) dating technology to look for potential life partners. Last year, a Santa Monica, California-based company IBIS World conducted a research and its author Jermey Edwards specified that based on their findings, there is a growing number of regulations about institutions who require more specific purpose for the information being disseminated online. This does not exclude the online dating businesses which is expected to be more unequivocal about how they utilize user data and how much of their private information should be asked upon signing up.

In this innovative era where a simple uploading of a person’s photo can be used for sore exposure, people should be more cautious. An implausible amount of sensitive personal information are collected and distributed each day. Information as such paves way for giving criminals easy entry to any would-be victims’ location.

The information being provided in these online dating sites are kept forever, even after cancelling the online dating account. According to the former lead of Microsoft’s Cybersecurity department, all the personal data that is posted on the internet are made permanent after 20 minutes even after deleting the account. Having no control over how the world wide web publishes confidential information, specifically, users’ location data can haunt any online dating user in the long run.

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