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Grindr receives record fine for illegal data sharing

The LGBTQA + dating application is once again in the crosshairs of justice for having illegally shared elements of private profiles belonging to its users.

A big blow to Grindr. This week, the dating app dedicated to the LGBTQA + community was fined a record 65 million crowns – approximately 6.3 million euros – by Norwegian legislators. At issue: sharing of data deemed illegal concerning its users, all for the purpose of targeted marketing, specifies the head of the Norwegian Data Protection Authority Bjorn Erik Thon, in a press release.

If Grindr has been presenting itself for several years as the alternative to Tinder “For gay, bi, trans and queer people”, the platform is also accused of having shared some sensitive data with advertisers, from the GPS coordinates of its subscribers, to their age, sex and other information which is a priori confidential. For Norwegian regulators, simply revealing that a user is using the app already gave too specific information about their sexual preferences : “We consider that information indicating that a person is a user of Grindr constitutes a special category of personal data because it strongly suggests belonging to a sexual minority”.

Grindr storms GDPR

In the absence of clear and explicit information for users, and in view of the type of sensitive data shared, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority Datatilsynet now considers that Grindr’s attitude violates GDPR (General data protection regime), adopted in Europe since 2018.

Seized last January by a consumer association, Datatilsynet had already threatened Grindr with a fine of 100 million crowns (9.88 million euros). Asked to change his mind, the platform had for its part let it be known that the facts alleged by the Norwegian authority were prior to April 2020, date on which it had already changed its terms of use. In a statement to AFP, company official Shane Wiley explains: “Even though Datatilsynet lowered the fine from its previous letter, it is relying on mistaken conclusions and venturing into uncharted legal territory. The proposed fine is therefore still totally disproportionate ”.

After the three-week deadline for appealing the Norwegian court decision, Grindr will have to pay a record fine. For their part, the complainants unanimously welcomed the decision taken by Datatilsynet, and denounce a “Collection and sale of personal data totally out of control”.

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