NORWAY NON PROFIT ALLEGES GRINDR SHARED PERSONAL USER DATA

BY: PADMA SRI

INTRODUCTION:




Grindr is sharing personal user data in violation of the European Union’s GDPR data protection legislation, a fresh series of complaints is alleging. The app shares data including location and device information with quite a dozen companies, in accordance to The New York Times. The Norwegian Consumer Council has filed three complaints against Grindr, also as five adtech companies that received personal data through the app. Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid Dating Apps Illegally Share User Data, Norwegian Group Says “The situation is totally out of control,” the Norwegian Consumer Council said. Dating apps sent user data to a minimum of 135 different third party services. The information buyers were involved in advertising or behavioral profiling. The apps didn’t provide users legally-compliant consent mechanisms. Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid Dating Apps Illegally Share User Data, Norwegian Group Says Norwegian Consumer Council said it found serious privacy infringements in its analysis. Dating apps including Grindr, OkCupid and Tinder leak personal information to advertising tech companies in possible violation of European data privacy laws, a Norwegian consumer group said in a report Tuesday. The Norwegian Consumer Council said it found “serious privacy infringements” in its analysis of how shadowy online ad companies track and profile smartphone users. The council, a government-funded nonprofit group, commissioned cyber security company Mnemonic to review 10 Android mobile apps. It found that the apps sent user data to a minimum of 135 different third-party services involved in advertising or behavioral profiling. Grindr describes itself as “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people,” so just sharing the actual fact that a user has the app installed on their device can give an intimation of their sexual orientation. Associating this information with an advertising ID then makes the user identifiable to third-party advertisers and across services, consistent with the report from the Norwegian Consumer Council.

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CURRENT ISSUE:

The Norwegian Consumer Council’s report notes that Grindr’s privacy policy discloses that it shares user and device data like a user’s advertising ID with third parties. However, the report claims the app isn’t clear about the legal basis for the way it processes this personal data, which the dimensions of Grindr’s adtech network makes it difficult for a user to know , and thus properly consent, to their data being collected. “The extent of tracking and complexity of the adtech industry is meaningless to consumers, meaning that individuals cannot make informed choices about how their personal data is collected, shared and used,” the report says. one among the adtech companies that Grindr shares data with is Twitter-owned MoPub, which says that it may share user data with over 180 of its partners, consistent with The New York Times. The entity told Bloomberg that it’s disabled Grindr’s MoPub account while it investigates.The Norwegian Consumer Council has filed its GDPR complaint with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, and therefore the privacy group NOYB has said that it intends to file a complaint of its own with the Austrian Data Protection Authority within the coming weeks.

CONCLUSION:

It’s worth noting that the research focused on the service’s Android app. The report said this was due to Android’s larger user base worldwide, but it noted that Android’s data flows are generally easier to watch which Google features a closer relationship with the adtech industry than Apple does. Beyond Grindr, the research also raised concerns about the info sharing practices of other dating apps. Match Group’s OkCupid and Tinder, for instance , were found to be sharing data with one another , including information on their users’ sexualities, drug use, and politics , consistent with Bloomberg. The report says this might break GDPR’s purpose limitation rules. While it declined to discuss the specifics of the report, Grindr told the NYT that it valued users’ privacy which it safeguards their personal information. Match Group said it only shared user data that’s necessary for providing its services, and added that it complies with privacy laws. This isn’t the primary time Grindr has faced complaints over the info it collects about its users. In 2018, a Norwegian nonprofit discovered that the service was sharing its users’ HIV status with two outside companies. After the report became public, Grindr said it had put an end to the practice, thereby accepting that it has involved in the alleged prohibited act.

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