By Tim Fitzsimons

Just a few months after a Chinese gaming company acquired Grindr, a gay dating app, employees of the app learned that the Trump administration was investigating the deal over national security concerns, according to two people familiar with the company.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an interagency group led by the Treasury Department that oversees foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, began investigating Grindr as early as July 2018 because of concerns about the security of sensitive user data collected by the app, which included the HIV status of millions of gay people around the world, the sources said. Sources familiar with the situation say employees learned of the investigation from internal company documents and in a July 20, 2018, meeting with Grindr executives and representatives from a newly hired public relations firm.

Grindr, which has more than 3 million daily users, was wholly acquired by China’s Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. in January 2018. The deal immediately caused concern among national security experts and privacy advocates, who worried that China could harvest potentially embarrassing or sensitive private data from the app for espionage purposes. For example, China might be able to find out the HIV status of U.S. military or security personnel who use Grindr.


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