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Grindr could be sharing your location and sexual orientation with thousands of advertisers

Vic Parsons January 15, 2020
Grindr

Man on phone. (Envato)

Gay dating app Grindr has been accused of unlawfully sharing its users’ personal data with thousands of advertising partners.

This includes detailed information about its users sexual orientation and location, according to a new investigation from the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC).

Along with four other ad-tech companies, the NCC accused Grindr of being “out of control” with regards to its profiling of customers.

“Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,” said Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems.

“This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.’

In response, Grindr said that it was “implementing an enhanced consent management platform”.

“While we reject a number of the report’s assumptions and conclusions, we welcome the opportunity to be a small part in a larger conversation about how we can collectively evolve the practices of mobile publishers and continue to provide users with access to an option of a free platform,” it told the BBC.

Three complaints have been filed against Grindr, by Schrems’ organisation, Noyb, and the Norwegian Consumer Council, to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, accusing the app of breaching EU data protection laws.

Other dating apps including OKCupid and Tinder were also found to be sharing data with each other and other companies owned by Match Group Inc. OKCupid shared details about users sexuality, drug use and political views with analytics company Braze Inc, the report said.

Europe’s data protection laws, the GDPR, came into effect in 2018 and mandate that a company can be fined as much as four percent of their global annual sales for serious violations. The GDPR mandates that companies get the unambiguous consent of users to collect their information.

The NCC’s analysis of ad-tech companies’ privacy policies suggested the language was often “incomprehensible” with “questionable legal basis”.

“These practices are out of control and are rife with privacy violations and breaches of European law,” said Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy at the NCC.

“The extent of tracking makes it impossible for us to make informed choices about how our personal data is collected, shared and used.

“Consequently, this massive commercial surveillance is systematically at odds with our fundamental rights.”

 

 

More: dating apps, gdpr, Grindr, OKCupid, Tinder

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