In 2020, the Norwegian Consumer Council alleged that Grindr had breached GDPR policies, bringing about a € 5.8 million fine for the dating app. The case went to the Norwegian Privacy Appeals Board, which has now upheld the original decision.
The Norwegian Consumer Council explained that the original complaints were filed because Grindr collected and shared its users’ sensitive personal information with third parties. These third parties could then share this information even further, for the purpose of surveillance-based advertising.
“Intimate knowledge of consumers’ preferences and when we are most receptive to manipulation is a threat not only to consumer- and privacy rights but may have dramatic consequences for society”, the Council said yesterday.
It shared that this was just one reason why it is working with other organisations to enact a ban on surveillance-based advertising. This type of advertising refers to when companies tailor their marketing efforts to individuals based on their unique interests, demographics, and other characteristics drawn from surveillance.
“We call for the digital advertising industry, which is responsible for tracking and profiling consumers on a massive scale, to make fundamental changes to respect consumers’ rights”, the Council shared.
Finn Myrstad, Director of Digital Policy at the Norwegian Consumer Council, commented on the appeals decision saying: “Surveillance-based advertising, where companies collect and share personal data for commercial purposes, is completely out of control. We are very pleased that the Norwegian Data Protection Authority has resolutely followed up our complaint and that the Norwegian Privacy Appeals Board has clearly affirmed that Grindr’s practice of sharing sensitive personal data with third parties is illegal”.