Norway consumer group calls for Grindr to be made to delete any illegal data

FILE PHOTO: Grindr app is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: Grindr app is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai, China March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/Illustration

March 18, 2021

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s influential Consumer Council called on Wednesday for the country’s data protection watchdog to order Grindr to identify and erase any personal data gathered illegally.

Datatilsynet, Norway’s Data Protection Authority, said in January it planned to fine the LGBTQ+ dating app 100 million Norwegian crowns ($11.8 million) for allegedly illegally disclosing user data to advertising firms.

“The Consumer Council is now asking the Data Protection Authority to impose measures to ensure that the company also must identify and delete illegally collected personal data,” the council said.

U.S.-based Grindr, which describes itself as the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, denied breaching Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets guidelines for the collection, processing and sharing of personal information.

Datatilsynet alleged “very severe” breaches by the dating app and said a provisional fine against it would correspond to around 10% of Grindr’s estimated global annual revenue.

“Grindr has submitted its reply to bring Datatilsynet’s attention to what the company believes are incorrect assumptions about Grindr’s users, incorrect applications of the GDPR, and an incorrect understanding of Grindr’s global revenue,” it said.

Norway’s data protection authority said it would carefully consider the views of both Grindr and the council before making any decisions.

“As long as this data is out there, it may be shared onward and be used by companies that monetize personal data for surveillance-based marketing and other purposes,” the consumer council said in a statement.

($1 = 8.4885 Norwegian crowns)

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Kim Coghill and Alexander Smith)