Since the summer 2015 Ashley Madison hack, interest in tracing romantic infidelity online has surged. Now, with the launch of a site called Swipe Buster, doubting lovers can determine whether or not their partners are illicitly swiping on the dating app Tinder.
According to Vanity Fair, the mechanisms of the site, and the concept behind it, are straightforward:
“For a $5 fee, users can input into a search field the first name, age, and location of anyone whom they want to check up on. Swipe Buster subsequently retrieves the data from Tinder’s application programming interface, or A.P.I., which holds all of this information about its users. (Tinder’s A.P.I. and database are public, making it easily accessible and sortable for anyone with a certain understanding of computer code. It is common among technology companies to have open A.P.I.s, so other companies can build ancillary products around their core experiences.) Then the site displays the users who fit those criteria, allowing users to see their photos, when they logged on, and whether they are seeking out men or women.”
But while the service Swipe Buster provides is simple—it allows you to search specific Tinder users without downloading the original app—the inspiration has less to do with unearthing cheaters and more with revealing just how much of our personal information can be located and traded online.
The website’s creator, who has chosen to remain anonymous, tells Vanity Fair, “There is too much data about people that people don’t know is available...Not only are people oversharing and putting out a lot of information about themselves, but companies are also not doing enough to let people know they’re doing it.”
If, in response, Tinder locks its information and closes its A.P.I., Swipe Buster will cease to exist. After all, its paramount goals will have been achieved: to raise awareness regarding online privacy and to force Tinder to better protect its users. As of now Tinder has not indicated whether its A.P.I. will remain open or if they will take more extensive measures to ensure privacy. Nonetheless, Swipe Buster’s architect is optimistic.
“We’re expecting [Swipe Buster] to be quite impactful,” he told Vanity Fair, “and a lot more people will realize what kind of data they have online.”
Image via AP.