Grindr is facing a fine of approximately $11.7 million from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority for sharing private data without the consent of its users.
The gay dating app is accused of explicitly violating European data privacy laws by giving the tracking codes and precise locations of its members to at least five third-party advertising agencies.
It has also been accused of putting people at serious risk, as sharing their locations in countries where the LGBTQ community is not protected could lead to harassment, abuse or physical harm.
A spokesperson for Grindr claims that the company obtained the necessary legal consent from European users on numerous occasions and has a “first class” approach to privacy. It has until 15th February to respond to the impending fine before it is settled.
Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy for the Norwegian Consumer Council, told The New York Times: “This not only sets limits for Grindr, but establishes strict legal requirements on a whole industry that profits from collecting and sharing information about our preferences, location, purchases, physical and mental health, sexual orientation and political views.”
The Norwegian Data Protection authority is also investigating the advertising companies that worked with Grindr to see if they are violating regulations.
At the beginning of 2020, the government organisation alleged that Grindr, Tinder and OkCupid were all mishandling user information. Match Group released a statement at the time claiming that it remains compliant with privacy laws when working with advertisers.
Read more here.