Researchers Publish Sensitive Information From OKCupid Database

/ 7 years ago


In the modern age, people tend to have a caviler attitude towards their sensitive information and often disclosure personal details on various social media platforms. Of course, it’s rather challenging to keep your data secure as websites like FaceBook make it extraordinarily difficult to understand their privacy terms using clear language. Recently, a team of Danish researchers collected information on 70,000 users via the OKCupid dating site which includes names, ages, gender, religion, personality traits and much more. The data was amassed without the users’ consent or communication with OKCupid. According to Vox, researchers Emil Kirkegaard, Oliver Nordbjerg, and Julius Daugbjerg Bjerrekær used software to “scrape” the information from OKCupid’s website and upload the results onto the Open Science Framework. This is an online forum which allows scientists to share raw data in a transparent manner and ensure the research is genuine.

While the data dump didn’t explicitly name anyone in particular, it’s relatively easy to gauge their identity based on various sources of sensitive information. This clearly breaks the scientific ethics code and is actually illegal! Whether or not the researchers in question will have to face any charges, or pay damages to those affected is unclear. Even though they might have had honourable intentions, you cannot use anyone’s information without consent. This is another worrying example of people’s data being exploited without their knowledge and showcases how vulnerable our information is online.

Image courtesy of TheNextWeb

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