“Totally Clueless”: Dating app Grindr reported for breach of privacy rules

By Cameron Abbott, Max Evans and Florence Fermanis

Dating apps, for many young people, are a fact of life. Meeting someone these days in real-life rather than through a simple swipe right appears to have become the exception, belonging more to any number of 90s teen “romcoms” than it does to real life.

According to an article by Reuters however, in recent times dating app Grindr has been the subject of a complaint by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) in relation to a breach of privacy rules as set out in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, implemented in 2018.

This complaint comes in light of an Investigative Report by the NCCC exposing concerns relating to dating apps passing on sensitive data (i.e. the user’s sexual preferences, health details, race etc.) to advertising firms without the user’s knowledge. This follows a trend more generally of increased scrutiny on how tech companies collect and use data, such as in the case of Cambridge Analytica.

While the point is made in the larger Report that it is difficult for users to understand from lengthy terms and conditions what exactly they are agreeing to in apps, consumers should endeavour to not remain “totally clueless” about how apps can potentially use their personal data.  Many however would have to admit to not having even tried to read privacy disclosure notices. Regulators in the long term must drive proper transparency and the ability to easily opt out of such disclosures as easy menu items, rather than pages of fine print.  We will keep you informed as to the progress of this complaint.

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