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70,000 Tinder photos of women are being traded online (report)

Tinder app splash screen displaying on a smartphone.
(Image credit: Wachiwit/Shutterstock)

At least 70,000 photos of women scraped from profiles in the Tinder dating app are circulating on a cybercrime forum, Gizmodo reported today (Jan. 16).

The photos were reportedly spotted by Aaron DeVera, a security researcher with the firm White Ops, who told Gizmodo the images were associated with a text file containing about 16,000 Tinder user IDs. That may indicate the total number of Tinder users compromised.

However, we're not sure what kind of advice to give you about this. Normally, we'd advise affected users to change their account passwords, but Tinder wouldn't tell Gizmodo whether it planned to notify the affected users.

There's also the question of whether this constitutes a breach of privacy, or a data breach at all. Because the images are already on Tinder, they're already public — they've just never been available to view all at once before. 

And while scraping all those images from Tinder is certainly a violation of Tinder's terms of service, it's not certain whether it constitutes theft, or anything illegal.

There's no indication as of yet that real names are associated with the images, although it wouldn't be hard to build up that kind of data rapidly with the user IDs, or by using an image-matching algorithm.

Speaking of such an algorithm, Gizmodo speculated that the images could be used to train facial-recognition software, as has apparently happened before.

So while this is definitely creepy, it may not in fact be dangerous. Just be aware that when you put your photos up on Tinder or any other online-dating service, they may not stay confined there forever.

Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at FoxNews.com, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.