OkCupid has filed a DMCA claim against the dataset uploaded online containing leaked information of 70,000 user profiles. The data has since been taken down, with the researchers behind the act still claiming that they did nothing wrong.
( Don Hankins | Flickr )
Last week, a team of Danish researchers intentionally leaked information of 70,000 profiles on online dating website OkCupid.
The researchers used automated software to scrape data from the profiles of users and then published the information online on the Open Science Framework. The real names of the users remain hidden, but their user names and locations are accessible, along with their answers to the questions asked by the website and its app.
The researchers underlined the fact that the data was publicly available, but collecting information on a massive scale without the consent of users could be considered a major privacy breach. Many privacy advocates have called the actions of the researchers as unethical.
In the latest update regarding the incident, the Open Science Framework has taken down the dataset uploaded by the researchers. The data was removed due to a copyright notice that was sent by OkCupid to the website.
“The repository is currently unavailable due to a [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] claim sent by OkCupid. It’s unclear to me which part they claim copyright on,” said Emil Kirkegaard, a masters student at Denmark’s Aarhus University and one of the researchers behind the debacle.
The DMCA, a law in the United States that allows companies to request for data to be taken down from websites, is often utilized by companies to prevent hacked data from being shared.
Aarhus University has disavowed Kirkegaard, claiming that his research and his methods are not considered to be practices tolerated by the institution. The university has launched its own investigation into the case.
Kirkegaard and his fellow researchers believed that they did not need to ask permission from OkCupid’s users, as all the information from the profiles can be searched through Google. The researchers did not expect their work to lead to such controversy, as they only wanted to contribute a dataset to the Open Science Framework that other researchers can use.
Photo: Don Hankins | Flickr