Russia has told dating app Tinder to store its users’ data and be prepared to hand it over on demand to its national intelligence agencies.
The requirement comes at a time when Russia continues to crack down on internet freedoms, in a move that authorities claim is protecting the country from extremism.
Tinder is now one of 175 online services that are required to store six months’ worth of data, which can be handed over to Russian authorities when requested.
Such data could consist of Russian users’ messages, photos, audio and video recordings, and would be handed over to law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Security Service (FSB).
In a tweet, Russia’s telecoms and media regulator Rozkomnador confirmed it had added Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, to its list.
It also attached a meme to its tweeted announcement, poking fun at the differing ways men introduce themselves on the internet, versus in-person meetings.
On the left hand side of the meme, the character greets a person on the internet with: “Hi, babe”, while the character on the right-hand side greets a person face-to-face with “Hi, I’m Vityusha” – an informal and friendly version of the name Viktor.
⚡ Роскомнадзор внес компанию-владельца сервиса Tinder в реестр организаторов распространения информации.
— Роскомнадзор (@roscomnadzor) June 3, 2019
Tinder is a popular dating app with millions of active users worldwide.
Users are shown a picture of a potential partner, and prompted to either “swipe left” or “swipe right”, depending on whether they like who they see.
The West Hollywood-based company said it had “not handed over any data” to the Russian government, despite registering to comply with authorities.
However, the statement did not comment on whether the company eventually intends to hand over such information.
If Tinder does not comply with requests from the Russian government for data, it could find itself in a similar row to those ongoing with other social platforms.
In 2016, a court ordered for LinkedIn to be blocked for defying data requests, while authorities issued an order last year to block the Telegram messaging app for similar reasons.
Despite the order, Telegram still remains active in Russia.
Facebook and WhatsApp are not as yet included among the 175 companies on Russia’s current list as authorities maintain there have been no law enforcement requests for data.