U.S. intelligence officials have warned that the Chinese government is gathering personal information on Americans using their Grindr profiles.
The news comes after Chinese company Kunlun Group completed a full buyout of the gay-dating app following their purchase of 60% of the company in January 2016.
Grindr revealed this week that Kunlun executives will be taking leadership of the dating app as the company’s founder Joel Simkhai steps down.
But the announcement has sparked panic among officials who claim that the Chinese goverment may be gathering information on users.
Experts have claimed that China sweeps and stores “massive amounts of data” from its citizens and foreign users in an effort to build files for intelligence purposes, The Washington Post reports.
Speaking to the publication, former U.S. government intelligence analyst Peter Mattis said the China government will use the data for “influence or for intelligence.”
He said: “What you can see from Chinese intelligence practices is a clear effort to collect a lot of personal information on a lot of different people, and to build a database of names that’s potentially useful either for influence or for intelligence.
“Then later, when the party-state comes into contact with someone in the database, there’s now information to be pulled.”
The Chinese government can reportedly use a “public security” clause to demand private information from Chinese-owned companies, including Kunlun.
Officials fear the government will ask the company to provide personal information from the app.
However despite claims from U.S. officials, Grindr’s vice president of marketing Peter Sloterdyk has claimed that users’ privacy remains a “top priority”.