Grindr Faces $11.7 Million Fine for Selling Personal Information

Gay dating site, Grindr, is facing an $11.7 million fine in Norway. This after they allegedly sold personal information without authorization.

Repercussion’s are emerging for Grindr. Last year, the gay dating website allegedly sold personal information to third party ad networks. It sparked controversy for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that the site holds a lot of highly sensitive personal information.

One of those third parties was Twitter’s MoPub ad network. As a result, observers said that those third parties also shared some of the blame for what happened. That included the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who had no problem offering their observations at the time.

“Let’s be clear: Grindr was in the wrong. It built a platform that encourages people to be exceptionally open with sensitive, potentially dangerous personal information, then it invited third-party advertisers to harvest and share much of that data with impunity.” The EFF further commented at the time, “Twitter likely hopes to paint Grindr as an anomaly, a single bad actor misusing its tracking technology which will be disciplined appropriately. But Twitter’s suspension of Grindr is hypocritical: Grindr was using Twitter’s ad tools almost exactly as intended. Moreover, Grindr is just one of over 55,000 apps using MoPub to collect and share data. When we formulate policy responses to the privacy violations exposed by the NCC report, we need to focus on the adtech systems like MoPub that enable companies like Grindr.”

Things are developing in Norway now. It seems that Grindr is facing an $11.7 million fine in the country. The fine was handed down for failing to obtain proper consent of their users before sharing their information with third parties. from Yahoo! News:

The Norwegian data privacy watchdog said Tuesday that it notified Grindr LLC of its draft decision to issue a fine for 100 million Norwegian krone ($11.7 million), equal to 10% of the U.S. company’s global revenue.

The Data Protection Authority took action following a complaint by the Norwegian Consumer Council alleging personal data was shared unlawfully for marketing purposes. The council had detailed in a report last year how Grindr and other dating apps leaked personal information to advertising technology companies to use for targeted ads in ways that the council said violated the EU’s tough GDPR privacy rules.

Norway isn’t a member of the EU but closely mirrors the bloc’s rules and regulations.

“The Norwegian Data Protection Authority considers that this is a serious case,” said Bjorn Erik Thon, the authority’s director-general. “Users were not able to exercise real and effective control over the sharing of their data.”

At this point, it’s unclear if other countries intend on going after the company for similar privacy violations. Still, this incident has caused a lot of damage for the brand. Since this incident happened entirely because of decisions made by the site itself, it’s also very self-inflicted as well. If the site is going to recover from this, it’s going to take a while to restore trust amongst users who would use the site in the first place.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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