40,000 profile pictures stolen from Tinder and uploaded online for public access

The programmer proclaims that he was just trying to gather detailed data on human faces.


Thousands of profile pictures have been taken from Tinder by a programmer, who then posted the pictures for public access on the Internet.

The dataset comprises of total 40,000 pictures, among which half are of men's and half women's.

Tinder has accused Mr. Stuart Colliani for committing this crime. Colliani had created a program, which was supposed to compile he cache of the pictures and according to the dating site, he misused the program violating the terms of services.

According to TechCrunch, the dataset originally contained most of the pictures of the users from the Bay Area, near San Francisco in California.

The hacker snatched multiple pictures of some profiles, the publication added.

According to Colliani, he was just trying to gather detailed data on human faces. "Why not leverage Tinder to build a better, larger facial dataset?"

Colliani posted on a web page, which was previously linked with the data, that "Tinder gives you access to thousands of people within miles of you."

He had folders containing the photos of Kaggle, which is a Google-run service that lets programmers experiment with artificial intelligence (AI) programs, reported BBC.

Although, it is true that AI algorithms can be trained by using large sets of pictures in order to perform facial recognition, but it's still not clear what intention Colliani had in mind.

Later, he posted an update declaring that he has deleted all the photographs.

"I have spoken with representatives at Kaggle, and they have received a request from Tinder to remove the dataset," he explained.

Tinder said it continued to implement measures "against the automated use" of its API (application programming interface), including steps "to deter and prevent scraping".

"This person has violated our terms of service (Sec. 11) and we are taking appropriate action and investigating further," the statement added. The firm also noted that all profile images are available to anyone using the app.

According to Glenn Wilkinson, an independent security researcher, if one uses the same profile picture on separate asocial media platforms, it can be used to link his/her identity on different sites. "People do like to keep their dating and work life separate - but if you use the same photo on Tinder and LinkedIn, those things could get linked together," he told the BBC.