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Grindr And Twitter-Owned MoPub Accused Of Unlawfully Sharing Users’ Data

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Dating app, Grindr is facing accusations of unlawfully sharing users’ data alongside MoPub. Twitter owns MoPub, a tech advertising firm.


This is part of a wider investigation by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) into what it terms as an “out of control” advertising industry and profiling of customers.


The two companies also face huge fines if they had breached EU data laws along with other firms.


Grindr says it is changing its consent platform while Twitter has temporarily disabled the relevant account.


Twitter told BBC News:


“We are currently investigating this issue to understand the sufficiency of Grindr’s consent mechanism. In the meantime, we have disabled Grindr’s MoPub account”.


The accusations are that Grindr and its advertising partners are sharing details such as location, age, gender, and sexuality. This is a breach of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).


Grindr unlawfully sharing users' data
Grindr unlawfully sharing users’ data. Photo:n Linkedin.


Grindr said that its response is “implementing an enhanced consent management platform”.


“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,” Grindr also explained to the BBC.

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Under GDPR rules, companies who share user data illegally face fines of up to 4% of their global turnover.


Advertising-tech companies allegedly collect information about users’ interests, habits, and behaviour whenever they use certain apps on their smartphones. They then create comprehensive profiles with that information for targeted advertising.

Handling of user data out of control and an insane violation of privacy rights

Under GDPR rules, the companies can only collect data with the consent of users. However, the NCC’s analysis of ad-tech companies’ privacy policies suggests the language was often “incomprehensible” with a “questionable legal basis”.


Meaning that there is no clear line that they should not cross.


“These practices are out of control and are rife with privacy violations and breaches of European law,” said Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy in the Norwegian Consumer Council.


He however added:


“The extent of tracking makes it impossible for us to make informed choices about how our personal data is collected, shared and used”.


Lawyer Max Schrems, who’s European Centre for Digital Rights is working with the NCC on the complaints also added:


“Consequently, this massive commercial surveillance is systematically at odds with our fundamental rights.


“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.


“This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.”


The companies under investigation are Grindr, Twitter’s MoPub, OpenX, ATT’s AppNexus, AdColony and Smaato.


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