Norway to fine Grindr millions for illegal data sharing

Smartphone dating app Grindr faces a record 100-million-kroner (9.6-million-euro) fine in Norway for illegally sharing user data with third parties, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority said on Tuesday.

Norway to fine Grindr millions for illegal data sharing
File photo: AFP

Grindr, which claims to be “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people”, is accused of sharing its users’ GPS coordinates, user profile data and the fact that the user is on Grindr, for marketing purposes.

“Our preliminary conclusion is that Grindr has shared user data to a number of third parties without legal basis,” Data Protection Authority director general Bjørn Erik Thon said in a statement.

According to the authority, this violates the European Union’s GDPR, or data protection rules, on valid consent that were introduced in May 2018.

The authority therefore decided to notify Grindr that it will be fined around 10 percent of its global turnover, or about $10 million, an unprecedented fine in the Nordic country.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, which had filed the initial legal complaint against Grindr, hailed the announcement as a “historic victory for privacy.”

Grindr has until February 15th to challenge the decision.

The wrongdoing it is accused of took place before April 2020, when the app changed its user consent terms.

In January 2020, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed legal complaints against Grindr and five other apps, including Twitter-controlled MoPub, for violating personal data protection rules.

The other complaints are still being examined, the Data Protection Authority said.

READ ALSO: Norway consumer rights group accuses Tinder, Grindr of illegally sharing data

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Spain just passed a data protection law that allows ‘party political profiling’

The Spanish senate approved Wednesday a controversial online data protection law which critics say will allow political parties to target voters with ads based on their internet browsing history.

Spain just passed a data protection law that allows 'party political profiling'
Photo: everythingposs/Depositphotos

The law was approved in Spain's upper house of parliament with 220 votes in favour and 21 against.   

It aims to make Spanish law comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force in May.

Among other things, the GDPR boosts people's right to be forgotten and guarantee free, easy access to personal data.    

It also requires businesses to inform people about data breaches that could negatively impact them.

But the Spanish law included an amendment which allows political parties to “use personal data obtained from web pages and other publicly accessible sources to carry out political activities” during election campaign periods.   

The law stipulates that people who do not wish to receive targeted adverts from parties should be provided with a “simple and free way to exercise their opposition”.

Under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, the collection of data regarding people's political opinions could be authorised as long as the appropriate guarantees are given.

The Spanish law was already approved last month by Spain's lower house of parliament and passage in the senate was the final step before it could come into effect.

Spain's Platform for the Defence of Freedom of Information said the law paves the way for parties to create “ideological profiles”.   

“It will allow parties to carry out practices like those of Cambridge Analytica”, it said in a statement in a reference to a now defunct British data consultancy which is accused of having harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their permission.

That data was then allegedly used to direct political advertising at US voters during the 2016 presidential election, as well as to British voters during the referendum that year on Britain's membership in the EU.

Spanish consumer group FACUA and far-left party Unidos Podemos both said in separate statements that they would challenge the law in Spain's Constitutional Court.