A new report from the Norwegian Consumer Council has accused popular dating apps Tinder and Grindr of sharing the personal information of users with third parties.
The report, titled Out Of Control: How consumers are exploited by the online advertising industry, reveals some popular mobile apps have committed “a number of serious privacy infringements”.
Cyber security company Mnemonic was commissioned to perform the technical analysis used in the report.
Dating apps are among the worst offenders when it comes to sharing user data, according to the report.
The Match Group, which owns both Tinder and OkCupid, failed to “fulfil the GDPR conditions for informed and explicit consent, as they bundle all purposes for data processing in their privacy policies”.
Additionally, by sharing data between its subsidiary apps (as it outlines in its privacy policies), the company is failing “to respect the data protection principle of purpose limitation”.
Match Group has since said it has “strict contracts” with its online advertising vendors to ensure the security of personal data.
Dating app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people Grindr is also accused of breaching GDPR conditions through its data-sharing practices with ad tech firms MoPub (owned by Twitter), AppNexus, OpenX, AdColony and Smaato.
Grindr shares details such as a user’s exact location with these companies, which can then be shared with other businesses, per the Norwegian Consumer Council.
“Every time you open an app like Grindr advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,” said European privacy non-profit noyb founder Max Schrems.
“This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.”
Grindr has since responded to the report, sharing a statement with BBC News.
“While we reject a number of the report’s assumptions and conclusions, we welcome the opportunity to be a small part in a larger conversation about how we can collectively evolve the practices of mobile publishers and continue to provide users with access to an option of a free platform,” the company said.
It is not the first time Grindr has been embroiled in a privacy scandal.
In 2018 it was revealed the dating app had shared users’ HIV status with some analytics companies. The process was soon ended.