REUTERS - May 22 - Early last year, Grindr's Chinese owner Beijing Kunlun Tech gave some Beijing-based engineers access to personal information of millions of Americans such as private messages and HIV status, prompting U.S. officials to ask it to sell the dating app. After taking full control of Grindr in January 2018, Beijing Kunlun Tech stepped up management changes and consolidated operations to cut costs and expand operations in Asia. In the process, some of the company's engineers in Beijing got access to the Grindr database for several months. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government panel that scrutinizes foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, worried that Grindr's database may include compromising information about personnel who work in military or intelligence. China's foreign ministry said it was aware of the situation with Grindr and urged the US to allow fair competition and not politicize economic issues. Grindr hired a cyber forensic firm and a third-party auditor at CFIUS’s behest to report on its compliance and to make sure the data was secure. Kunlun kept trying to salvage the Grindr deal until as recently as last week, when it said it would sell it by June next year.
by Echo Wang & Carl O'Donnell
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