Top 10 Best Sites
Looking for a dating site you can trust? Search no more.
The Short Version: As we become more reliant on technology, we still don’t have a foolproof way to safeguard our information, especially on dating sites and apps. Peer Mountain set out to solve these dilemmas by creating a decentralized identity ecosystem that has many applications for online dating. The company’s technologies give users complete control — from a device level — over the personal information they share with others. That also means dating sites and apps don’t need to store user data, which can make them far less vulnerable to debilitating hacks.
Jed Grant understands the real cost of identity theft because his identity has been stolen several times over the years. Even though some of the hacks happened more than a decade ago, he still faces repercussions from fraudsters trying to use his identity for shady online dealings.
But what led to that situation? According to Jed, most sites — including online dating platforms — store personal data in one location, which makes it vulnerable to malicious hackers.
“I’ve experienced what centralized data storage can do to your personal data when it’s been hacked,” he told us.
Spurred by his own experience with identity theft, Jed started experimenting with decentralized data storage. His objective was to develop a system of data exchange that allowed users to share information directly and trust each other as much online as they did in person.
That project evolved into Peer Mountain, a platform that can help companies — including dating sites and apps — give data control back to the users. Peer Mountain’s technology means no central data repositories. Instead, users can share and exchange their information only when they want to.
“Peer Mountain is an evolution,” said Jed, the CEO, Lead Architect, and Visionary at Peer Mountain. “It lets you exchange data and build trust.”
Peer Mountain functions by using a Peerchain Protocol, which leverages blockchain technology to provide secure and trustworthy communication channels. Further, Peer Mountain has developed facial recognition technology, which can come in handy when you’re trying to ensure that the person on the other end of an online chat session is who they claim to be.
The technologies are useful for many different types of websites, but have widespread applications to dating platforms because of the deeply personal information that users share in their profiles.
“That information in a dating site is a gold mine for a hacker,” Jed said. “You have enough information to create a bank account.”
That’s why Peer Mountain is dedicated to dispersing that information so that daters are both safe from hacks and more trusting of other users.
Hackers often target dating sites because users provide a lot of details about themselves when signing up for a platform — including their name, age, location, and other personal information. They may even offer more granular information such as their favorite color or food.
“Dating sites are often just places where you pay to share your data with others,” Jed said.
The beauty of Peer Mountain’s peer-to-peer data sharing technology is that it enhances the enjoyable parts of the online dating experience — getting to know someone and telling them more about yourself — by providing more security.
With Peer Mountain, data doesn’t pass through the dating site; instead, users share it directly with others. That means they control the flow of information rather than giving it to a dating site to use and store as it sees fit.
How does this peer-to-peer sharing feature work?
Individuals retain ownership of their data by storing it in a digital wallet — typically stored on a mobile device. Users can choose to share their data — or even particular subsets of data — as often as they’d like.
When a user wants to share their information with someone else, Peer Mountain initiates a messaging protocol that includes authentication and a digital signature before any sharing can take place.
“Both individuals and companies can interact by using secure technology,” Jed said.
Meanwhile, the dating platform only stores a hashed, or cryptographically abbreviated, version of a user’s profile information. Thus, if a platform is hacked, fraudsters can’t attain any useful information to exploit.
According to Psychology Today, 53% of Americans have admitted to fabricating some parts of their dating profiles. Specifically, they may not be entirely honest when it comes to their appearance. Some users may choose photos that are old or out-of-date, while others may upload photos that aren’t of themselves at all.
Peer Mountain technology can give users peace of mind about who is really on the other end of a conversation.
“We have onboarding technology that does facial recognition,” Jed said.
Dating sites can confirm that users faces match their photos by requiring them to make a short video. Then, Peer Mountain’s matching algorithm can determine if the face in the video is the same as the one in a profile picture.
All of Peer Mountain’s tools are inspired by the idea that users want to maintain control of their information. And if at any time they want to revoke someone’s access to their data, they can.
They can also limit what a person can see about them. For example, if they only want someone they’re chatting with online to see photos and not videos, they can choose the information that individual can access.
To acquire access, a user needs to invite someone they’ve met online to access specific information using specialized keys.
“You can allow people to remain anonymous,” said Jed. “The consumer can then share personal information on a peer-to-peer basis.”
Centralized data repositories can be high-value targets for hackers who want to steal information from a large number of people. Jed learned that the hard way when he had his identity stolen, but he decided to fight back by creating Peer Mountain to give users control of their own data.
While Peer Mountain technologies are a logical fit for dating platforms, they’re also valuable for any website aiming to give users more autonomy. Those websites save themselves plenty of worry by not having to store and secure all of that user information.
Instead, hackers would only obtain useless, non-individualizing information. When contracting with Peer Mountain, service providers receive a 4096-bit RSA key — a technology proven impossible to crack.
Users, too, maintain control of their information even if they lose their devices. All Peer Mountain wallets are protected with a PIN and fingerprint authentication.
“Dating sites could improve the quality of their sites and reduce their risk by using Peer Mountain,” Jed said. “There’s considerable privacy that’s possible if platforms store just a hash version on the dating site.”
Dating platforms aim to create a trustworthy experience for daters, and Peer Mountain helps them achieve that goal while also giving users more control in the process.