GDPR dating information update

Hackers movie

With GDPR I send out emails to OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and others. So far I’ve only gotten responses from POF and OkCupid. Which means Tinder and others have about a day or so to get back to me with everything before I can start to throw down some fire.

Before I headed on holiday, I got a message from POF then OKcupid a day later, saying they need the request from the email which is on the account. Fair enough, so I forwarded each email to that email address and replied all to myself and to them but from that email account address.

A few days later I got emails, first from POF and then OKCupid.

You have recently requested a copy of your PlentyofFish (“POF”) personal data, and we’re happy to report that we have now verified your identity.

We are attaching a copy of your personal data contained in or associated with your POF account.  The password to access the personal data will be sent in a separate email.

By downloading this data, you consent to the extraction of your data from POF, and assume all risk and liability for such downloaded data. We encourage you to keep it secure and take precautions when storing or sharing it.

The information contained in this archive may vary depending on the way you have used POF. In general, this information includes content and photos you have provided us, whether directly or through your social media accounts, messages you have sent and other data you would expect to see from a social media service like POF.

Please note that there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on POF, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Sincerely,

POF Privacy Team

Then similar from OKcupid, which makes sense being the same company really.

Dear Mr. Forrester:

You have recently requested a copy of your OkCupid personal data, and we’re happy to report that we have now verified your identity.

We are attaching a copy of your personal data contained in or associated with your OkCupid account. The password to access the personal data will be sent in a separate email.

By downloading this data, you consent to the extraction of your data from OkCupid, and assume all risk and liability for such downloaded data. We encourage you to keep it secure and take precautions when storing or sharing it.

The information contained in this archive may vary depending on the way you have used OkCupid. In general, this information includes content and photos you have provided us, whether directly or through your social media accounts, messages you have sent and other data you would expect to see from a social media service like OkCupid.

Please note that there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on OkCupid, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Sincerely,

OkCupid Privacy Team

So on my train journey from Stockholm to Copenhagen, I had a look inside the Zip files shared with me. Quite different, I’d be interesting to see what others will do.

  • Forrester, I – POF Records.zip
    • UserData.json | 6.2 kb
    • UserData.pdf | 40.5 kb
    • Profile_7.jpg | 30.1 kb
    • Profile_6.jpg | 25.0 kb
    • Profile_5.jpg | 17.4 kb
    • Profile_4.jpg | 18.8 kb
    • Profile_3.jpg | 26.6 kb
    • Profile_2.jpg | 11.7 kb
    • Profile_1.jpg | 30.7 kb
  • OkCupid_Records_-Forrester__I.zip
    • Ian Forrester_JSN.txt | 3.8 mb
    • Ian Forrester_html.html | 6.6mb

As you can see quite different, interestingly no photos in the OKCupid data dump, even the ones I shared as part of my profile. In POF the PDF is a copy of the Json file, which is silly really.

So the Json files are the most interesting parts…

Plenty of Fish

.POF don’t have much interesting data, basically a copy of my profile data in Json including Firstvisit, FirstvisitA, etc to FirstvisitE complete with my ip address. I also can confirm I started my profile on 2012-01-25.

Then there is my BasicSearchData and AdvancedSearchData  which includes the usual stuff and when I LastSearch ‘ed and from which IP address.

Nothing else… no messages

OkCupid

OkCupid has a ton more useful information in its Json. Some interesting parts; I have logged into OKCupid a total of 24157 times! My status is Active? My job is Technology?  The geolocation_history is pretty spot on and the login_history goes from July 2007 to current year, complete with IP and time.

The messages is really interesting! They decided to share one of the messages, so only the ones you send rather what you received. As the messages are not like emails, you don’t get the quoted reply, just the sent message. Each item includes who from (me) and time/date. There are some which are obviously a instant massager conversation which look odd reading them now. In those ones, theres also fields for peer, peer_joined, time and type. Its also clear where changes have happened for example when you use to be able to add some formatting to the message and you use to have subject lines.

Some which stick out include, Allergic to smoking?, insomnia, ENTP and where next, The Future somewhat answered, So lazy you’ve only done 40 something questions, Dyslexia is an advantage, But would you lie in return? No bad jokes, gotland and further a field, Ok obvious question, etc.

Next comes the photos (My photos, no one elses)

"caption": "OkCupid's removal of visitors is so transparent, I don't know why they bothered to lie to us all?", 
"photo": "https://k1.okccdn.com/php/load_okc_image.php/images/6623162030294614734", 
"status": "Album Picture Active", 
"uploaded": "2017-08-08 19:16:20"

Of course the images are publicly available via the url, so I could pull them all down with a quick wget/curl. Not sure what to make about this idea of making them public. Security through obscurity anyone?

Stop screwing with OKCupid
As long as you can see the picture above, OKCupid is making my profile pictures public

Now the images strings seems to be random but don’t think this is a good idea at all! Wondering how it sits with GDPR too, also wondering if they will remove them after a period of time. Hence if the image a above is broken, then you know what happened.

Then we are on to the purchases section. It details when I once tried A-list subscription and when I cancelled it. How I paid (paypal), how much, address, date, etc… Its funny reading about when I cancelled it…

"comments": "userid = 7367007913453081320 was downgraded to amateur", 
"transaction": "lost subscription",

The big question I always had was the question data. Don’t worry they are all there! For example here’s just one of mine.

{
"answer_choices": {
"1": "Yes", 
"2": "No"
}, 
"prompt": "Are you racist?", 
"question_id": 7847, 
"user_acceptable_answers": [
"No"
], 
"user_answer": "No", 
"user_answered_publicly": "no", 
"user_importance": "mandatory"
},

After all those questions, theres a bunch of stuff about user_devices I’ve used to log into OkCupid over the years going right back. Stuff about preferences for searches, etc.

Going to need some time to digest everything but the OKCupid data dump is full of interesting things. I might convert the lot to XML just to make it easier for me to over view.

OKcupid responds to my GDPR request

OkCupid no Match protest

I mentioned how I emailed a load of dating sites for my data and then some… Under GDPR. So far I’ve got something form POF but OKcupid finally got back to me, after finally making it to supportconsole@okcupid.com.

Hello,

OkCupid has received your recent request for a copy of the personal data we hold about you.

For your protection and the protection of all of our users, we cannot release any personal data without first obtaining proof of identity.

In order for us to verify your identity, we kindly ask you to:

1. Respond to this email from the email address associated with your OkCupid account and provide us the username of your OkCupid account.

2. In your response to this email, please include a copy of a government-issued ID document such as your passport or driving license. Also, we ask you to please cover up any personal information other than your name, photo and date of birth from the document as that is the only information we need.

We may require further verification of your identity, for example, if the materials you provide us do not establish your identity as being linked to the account in question.

Please note that if you previously closed your account, your data may be unavailable for extraction as we proceed to its deletion or anonymization in accordance with our privacy policy. Even if data is still available for extraction, there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on OkCupid, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Best,

OkCupid Privacy Team

Pretty much the same as the POF reply.

POF first to respond to my GDPR request

Plenty of Fish

I mentioned how I emailed a load of dating sites for my data and then some… Under GDPR. So far I’ve been bounced around a little but POF is the first positive email I gotten so far…

PlentyofFish (“POF”) has received your recent request for a copy of the personal data we hold about you.

For your protection and the protection of all of our users, we cannot release any personal data without first obtaining proof of identity.

In order for us to verify your identity, we kindly ask you to:

1. Respond to this email from the email address associated with your POF account and provide us the username of your POF account.

2. In your response to this email, please include a copy of a government-issued ID document such as your passport or driving license. Also, we ask you to please cover up any personal information other than your name, photo and date of birth from the document as that is the only information we need.

We may require further verification of your identity, for example, if the materials you provide us do not establish your identity as being linked to the account in question.

Please note that if you previously closed your account, your data may be unavailable for extraction as we proceed to its deletion or anonymization in accordance with our privacy policy. Even if data is still available for extraction, there is some information we cannot release to you including information that would likely reveal personal information about other users. Those notably include messages you received on POF, which are not provided out of concern for the privacy of the senders.

Best,

POF Privacy Team

Well I guess they are being careful at least but will be interested to see what other questions they ask me.

Still wondering when the rest will get in touch?

Data portability and GDPR, been waiting a long time for this

EU GDPR 2018

One of the things I always wanted but never couldn’t see how it would happen without the good will of companies. Was real data portability of my own data.

Google, Facebook and others do provide a data dump but I found it really interesting to see the difference in my Facebook dump/zip/archive. I request it every year or when something changes. This year I did one while Facebook struggled to deal with the impact of Cambridge Analytica and the new GDPR changes.

In 2017 my zip was 31.4 MB (31,425,658 bytes)
In 2018 my zip was 171.3 MB (171,267,617 bytes)

Unlike previously FB included ALL the media in the messages I’ve exchanged with friends. All those gifs and videos friends have shared are now in the dump. I find it interesting they were not included previously. Which always raises the question of ownership. Something we (dataportability group) talked a lot.

I’m so looking forward to similar with other services… Although I’m still unsure if you can legally create services which use the data exports to import or not. It should be possible, as its your data.

Having already crafted a email to send to OKCupid, POF, Bumble, Tinder and some other dating sites similar to when the journalist requested every bit of data they had on her. Its set to send on May 25th which is the day when GDPR comes into effect aka tomorrow!

Thanks to Ubergill for much improving the email I originally drafted…

I’m looking forward to the replies!

Dear {service}

I am making this request for access to personal data pursuant to Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation. I am still concerned that your company’s information practices may be putting my personal information at undue risk of exposure or in fact has breached its obligation to safeguard my personal information.

I would like you to be aware at the outset, that I expect a reply to my request within one month as required under Article 12, failing which I will be forwarding my inquiry with a letter of complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Please advise as to the following:

  1. Please confirm to me whether or not my personal data is being processed. If it is, please provide me with the categories of personal data you have about me in your files and databases.
  2. In particular, please tell me what you know about me in your information systems, whether or not contained in databases, and including e-mail, documents on your networks, or voice or other media that you may store.
  3. Additionally, please advise me in which countries my personal data is stored, or accessible from. In case you make use of cloud services to store or process my data, please include the countries in which the servers are located where my data are or were (in the past 12 months) stored.
  4. Please provide me with a copy of, or access to, my personal data that you have or are processing.
  5. Please provide me with a detailed account of the specific uses that you have made, are making, or will be making of my personal data.
  6. Please provide a list of all third parties with whom you have (or may have) shared my personal data.
  7. If you cannot identify with certainty the specific third parties to whom you have disclosed my personal data, please provide a list of third parties to whom you may have disclosed my personal data.
  8. Please also identify which jurisdictions that you have identified in 1(b) above that these third parties with whom you have or may have shared my personal data, from which these third parties have stored or can access my personal data. Please also provide insight in the legal grounds for transferring my personal data to these jurisdictions. Where you have done so, or are doing so, on the basis of appropriate safeguards, please provide a copy.
  9. Additionally, I would like to know what safeguards have been put in place in relation to these third parties that you have identified in relation to the transfer of my personal data.
  10.  Please advise how long you store my personal data, and if retention is based upon the category of personal data, please identify how long each category is retained.
  11. If you are additionally collecting personal data about me from any source other than me, please provide me with all information about their source, as referred to in Article 14of the GDPR.
  12. If you are making automated decisions about me, including profiling, whether or not on the basis of Article 22 of the GDPR, please provide me with information concerning the basis for the logic in making such automated decisions, and the significance and consequences of such processing.
  13.  I would like to know whether or not my personal data has been disclosed inadvertently by your company in the past, or as a result of a security or privacy breach.
  14. If so, please advise as to the following details of each and any such breach:
  15. a general description of what occurred;
  16. the date and time of the breach (or the best possible estimate);

iii. the date and time the breach was discovered;

  1. the source of the breach (either your own organisation, or a third party to whom you have transferred my personal data);
  2. details of my personal data that was disclosed;
  3. your company’s assessment of the risk of harm to myself, as a result of the breach;

vii. a description of the measures taken or that will be taken to prevent further unauthorised access to my personal data;

viii. contact information so that I can obtain more information and assistance in relation to such a breach, and

  1. information and advice on what I can do to protect myself against any harms, including identity theft and fraud.
  2. If you are not able to state with any certainty whether such an exposure has taken place, through the use of appropriate technologies, please advise what mitigating steps you have taken, such as
  3. Encryption of my personal data;
  4. Data minimisation strategies; or,

iii. Anonymisation or pseudonymisation;

  1. Any other means
  2. I would like to know your information policies and standards that you follow in relation to the safeguarding of my personal data, such as whether you adhere to ISO27001for information security, and more particularly, your practices in relation to the following:
  3. Please inform me whether you have backed up my personal data to tape, disk or other media, and where it is stored and how it is secured, including what steps you have taken to protect my personal data from loss or theft, and whether this includes encryption.
  4. Please also advise whether you have in place any technology which allows you with reasonable certainty to know whether or not my personal data has been disclosed, including but not limited to the following:
  5. Intrusion detection systems;
  6. Firewall technologies;

iii. Access and identity management technologies;

  1. Database audit and/or security tools; or,
  2. Behavioural analysis tools, log analysis tools, or audit tools;
  3.  In regards to employees and contractors, please advise as to the following:
  4. What technologies or business procedures do you have to ensure that individuals within your organisation will be monitored to ensure that they do not deliberately or inadvertently disclose personal data outside your company, through e-mail, web-mail or instant messaging, or otherwise.
  5. Have you had had any circumstances in which employees or contractors have been dismissed, and/or been charged under criminal laws for accessing my personal data inappropriately, or if you are unable to determine this, of any customers, in the past twelve months.
  6. Please advise as to what training and awareness measures you have taken in order to ensure that employees and contractors are accessing and processing my personal data in conformity with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Thank you,

Ian

Data portability in online dating sooner than they think?

Dating Apps make money from attention & personal data

I have written a few times about disruption in online dating, heck its something which will be discussed at Mozilla Festival this year (tickets are available now).

But interestingly the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation may get in there ahead of any setup/network disruption. In the Guardian I saw a piece called Getting your data out of Tinder is really hard – but it shouldn’t be.

Its all about getting data back from Tinder (which remember is part of IAC/Match group)

…Duportail eventually got some of the rest of her data, but only on a voluntary basis, and only after she identified herself as a journalist. Her non-journalist friends who followed suit never got responses to similar requests.

Finally armed with the 800 pages she had clawed back from Tinder, Duportail wrote a story reflecting on her own relationship with her data, and the myopic view Tinder had of her love life. I feel her story helps bridge the chasm between those with information stored in the database and the architects behind it, providing much needed neutral common ground to democratically discuss power distributions in the digital economy.

Given the popularity of her story, and my overflowing inbox, I would say many agree. And indeed, you should expect more similar stories to be unearthed in the future because of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). From May 2018, the new European-level regulation will come into force, claiming wider applicability – including on US-based companies, such as Tinder, processing the personal data of Europeans – and harmonising data protection and enforcement by “levelling up” protections for all European residents.

I know there is a lot of push back from the big American internet corps, but this is coming and the there is no way they can wriggle out of it?

…beyond the much older right of access, the true revolution of GDPR will come in the form of a new right for all European citizens: the right to portability.

It seems like such a small thing but actually it has the potential to be extremely disruptive. Heck its one of the things I wanted back in early 2011. Imagine all those new services which could act like brokers and enable choice! It could be standard to have the ability to export and import rich data sets like Attention profile markup language (APML).

I just wish we were staying in Europe, although the UK has agreed to take GDPR, thankfully! There was no way, if they were left on their own, this would ever come about; like it looks like it might.