Landmark privacy case

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U.S.-based Grindr, the world's largest social networking app for gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, faces NOK 100 million fine for breach of data privacy.

By Inge Kristian Brodersen

The Norwegian Data Protection Authority (Datatilsynet) has announced its intention to fine dating app Grindr NOK 100 million for what the regulator has described as illegal disclosure of user data to advertising firms.  Should the fine be finalised, it would be the largest GDPR fine issued in the Nordics.

According to the authority, the Grindr app has transmitted users’ precise locations, user-tracking codes and the app’s name to at least five advertising companies, essentially tagging individuals as L.G.B.T.Q. without obtaining their explicit consent. Grindr has until 15 February to respond to the claims, after which the authority will make its final decision in the case.

The fine comes one year after European non-profit groups lodged complaints against Grindr and its advertising partners. Use of cookies by adtech companies has been seen as a threat to privacy. The Norwegian Consumer Council states that the ruling would have wide repercussions beyond dating apps, and "establishes strict legal requirements on a whole industry that profits from collecting and sharing information about our preferences, location, purchases, physical and mental health, sexual orientation and political views."

Schjødt assists Grindr in this landmark privacy case.