A top official with the US Catholic Church resigned after cell phone data obtained through a broker appeared show was a frequent user of Grindr gay dating app, rekindling privacy concerns on who has access to consumers’ digital data.
The United States Conference of Catholic bishops said in a reminder Tuesday that Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill had resigned as his general secretary after the staff had learned on Monday of “imminent media reports they claim possible improper behavior. “The priest was responsible for coordinate all administrative matters for the organization.
news of Burrill’s resignation, reported in precedence from National Catholic Reporter, came later online Catholic news place the pillar allegations reported of his behavior at the conference. Tuesday after Burrill’s resignation was announced, Pillar reported having obtained device location data from a data provider allegedly collected through Grindr. He then hired an independent data consultancy firm to analyze it.
Privacy experts have long expressed concern over the ease with which anonymous data can be used by data trackers to determine a person’s identity. in base on the location, time and activity, everything of which can be collected through the permission granted at the time of download of the app.
The data acquired by The Pillar analyzed highlights the invasive threat represented by mobile data. Pillar said his analysis of the app data “correlated” to Burrill’s cell phone shows visited gay bars in several cities between 2018 and 2020 while using the app, including while on business for the organization.
A main concern of privacy experts implies a concept known as “device Fingerprints,” in watching a tracker for a unique and persistent way identify a user, even when the data should be anonymous.
Security researchers have also found that apps they are harvesting more data than users are led to believe. A report in 2019 found that more of 1,000 apps they took data even after users had denied them permissions, allowing them to collect precise geolocation data and phone identifiers.
It wasn’t right away clear how The pillar got the data.
Burrill could not be reached immediately for comment. Grindr and the USCCB did not respond to requests for comment.
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