Uh oh: If you've ever used OkCupid, you will want to read this
This is bad. A group of Danish researchers have released almost 70,000 OkCupid usernames and highly personal details (such as answers to questions about dating habits and sexual preferences) without users’ consent, according to Vox.
The data, which was collected from November 2015 to March 2015, doesn’t include actual names but can be tied to someone if he or she uses the same username across different platforms. Vox reports that masters student Emil Kirkegaard, who is the lead author of the work, dumped the data on Open Science Framework simply because of the sheer abundance of telling information.
In a written introduction to the data, the researchers explain their actions: “Some may object to the ethics of gathering and releasing this data. However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it is a more useful form.”
Many are upset, if not downright appalled, by the disregard for research ethics.
Aarhus University, where Kirkegaard studies, has distanced themselves from the researchers and the data dump, tweeting:
Over one hundred academics have signed an open letter to the University demanding they request an apology from Kirkegaard and perform an investigation into the researchers’s data collection methods.
The data has unfortunately already been downloaded over 800 times. As if online dating wasn’t already painful enough.