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Grindr ordered to pay 5.7 million euro fine for sharing user data

The Norwegian District Court decided that Grindr, a location-based dating app aimed at gay, bisexual and transgender people, has to pay a fine of 65 million kroner or 5.7 million euro for unlawfully sharing personal user information with commercial partners.

Forbrukerrådet, the Norwegian data protection authority (DPA), calls it ‘a very important victory’.

“The commercial collection, sharing and use of personal data is out of control, and is finally being cracked down on. We are very pleased that the District Court so clearly states that Grindr’s sharing of sensitive personal data with third parties is illegal,” says Inger Lise Blyverket, Consumer Director at Forbrukerrådet.

She hopes the verdict will send a strong signal to all companies involved. “Collecting and sharing personal data is not a free-for-all. We expect the digital marketing industry that thrives on tracking and profiling consumers to make fundamental changes to safeguard consumer rights,” Blyverket adds.

The Norwegian Consumer Council filed a complaint against Grindr in 2020 for unlawfully collecting and sharing personal user information with numerous commercial parties. They in return reserved the right to sell the data with thousands of other companies for targeted advertising.

In December 2021 Forbrukerrådet imposed a 5.7 million euro fine to Grindr for illegally sharing user data. The dating app disagreed with the assessment and appealed to the ruling. The District Court now says the punishment is justified and upholds the fine.

The DPA says it’s working on a ban on surveillance-based marketing. “The Grindr case shows how important it is to implement structural changes against an industry that thrives from commercial surveillance of consumers,” Blyverket states.

The Austrian privacy organization Noyb, which supported the case from the very beginning, is happy with the outcome. “We are very pleased with the confirmation in this case. Grindr holds very sensitive data and shares it with thousands of third parties for advertising purposes. Many other apps do the same today,” chairman Max Schrems explains.

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