Grindr, a famous dating app, is getting sued by Norway for $11.7 million for failing to get consent from its users before sharing their personal information with advertising companies. This is in breach of stringent privacy rules set by European Union.
Grindr Gets Sued
The Norwegian data privacy watchdog stated on January 26 that it notified Grindr LLC of its decision to sue them and issue a fine for $11.7 million or 100 million Norwegian krone, that is equal to 10% of the U.S company's global revenue.
The Data Protection Authority took action following a complaint that was issued by the Norwegian Consumer Council, alleging that personal data was shared without permission for marketing purposes, according to The New York Times.
The council had detail in a report back in 2020 how Grindr and other dating apps leaked personal information to advertising technology partner companies to use for targeted advertising in ways that the council said violated the EU's strict GDPR privacy rules.
Norway is not a member of the EU but the country closely mirrors the EU's rules and regulations, especially when it comes to privacy.
The Norwegian watchdog came to the preliminary conclusion that Grindr shared user data with a number of third parties without legal basis. The data included GPS location, the user profile information and even the fact that users are on Grindr, which could reveal their sexual orientation and it may merit special protection.
Bjorn Erik Thon, the director general of the Norwegian watchdog said that the Norwegian Data Protection Authority considers that this is a serious case. He said that users were not able to exercise real and effective control over the sharing of their data.
The dating app, Grindr, did not respond immediately to an email request for a comment from the Associated Press. Bjoern Richard Johansen, the spokesman of Grindr in Norway, confirmed to broadcaster NRK that it had received a letter from regulators to notify it of the fine because of the privacy concerns.
Johansen told NRK that Grindr is looking forward to entering into a dialogue with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority. He said that the company had no further comment.
According to the issued case, Grindr has until February 15, 2021 to give feedback, which the watchdog will take into account for its final decision.
How Grindr Got User Personal Information
The Data Protection Authority stated that the way Grindr asked users for permission to use their information went against GDPR's requirements for valid consent.
The watchdog is also still investigating five ad tech companies that got the data from Grindr, that includes the mobile app advertising platform of Twitter called MoPub, according to ABC News.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Consumer Council accepted the fine. Finn Myrstad, the group's director of digital policy, said that they hope that this marks the starting point for numerous similar decisions against companies that engage in purchasing and selling personal data.
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Written by Sieeka Khan