Home Tech London lawsuit alleges Grindr shared users’ HIV status with advertising companies

London lawsuit alleges Grindr shared users’ HIV status with advertising companies

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London lawsuit alleges Grindr shared users' HIV status with advertising companies

Grindr faces the prospect of legal action from hundreds of users who will allege that the dating app shared highly sensitive personal information, including in some cases their HIV status, with advertising companies.

Law firm Austen Hays will file a lawsuit on Monday at London’s High Court alleging that the app’s American owner breached British data protection laws.

The firm alleges that the information of thousands of Grindr users in the UK was misused. So far, 670 people have signed up for the claim and the firm said “thousands” more people had expressed interest in joining.

Grindr said it would respond strongly to the claim, which it said was based on a mischaracterization of past policies.

Grindr was founded in 2009 to make it easier to coordinate sexual encounters for gay men. It now claims to be the world’s largest dating app for gay, bi, trans and queer people, with millions of users worldwide.

The high court lawsuit against Grindr will focus on the company’s alleged sharing of personal information with two advertising companies. It will also allege that those companies may have sold the data to other companies.

The law firm said the lawsuit against Grindr will focus on the periods before April 3, 2018 and between May 25, 2018 and April 7, 2020, meaning it is unlikely that new users will be able to join. Grindr changed its consent mechanisms in April 2020.

Los Angeles-based Grindr announced it would stop sharing users’ HIV status with third-party companies in April 2018 after a report by Norwegian researchers revealed data sharing with two companies. In 2021, Norway’s data protection authority fined Grindr 65 million Norwegian krone (£4.8 million), 10% of its global revenue, for violating the General Data Protection Regulation and the board of privacy appeals in the country. confirmed the decision last year.

Grindr appealed against that decision.

Norway’s decision did not focus on the alleged sharing of users’ HIV status, but instead found that sharing the fact that someone was registered on Grindr was itself sensitive information, since users were very likely to be part of of the gay or bisexual community.

Chaya Hanoomanjee, managing director of Austen Hays, which is leading the claim, said: “Our clients have experienced significant distress that their private and highly sensitive information has been shared without their consent, and many have suffered feelings of fear, shame and anxiety as a result. result.

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“Grindr owes it to the LGBTQ+ community: it serves to compensate those whose data has been compromised and suffered hardship as a result, and to ensure that all its users are safe while using the app, wherever they are, without fear of your data could be stolen. shared with third parties.”

The law firm said it believed some users could be entitled to thousands of pounds in damages, without giving further details.

A Grindr spokesperson said: “We are committed to protecting our users’ data and complying with all applicable data privacy regulations, including in the UK.

“We are proud of our global privacy program and take privacy very seriously. “We intend to respond vigorously to this claim, which appears to be based on a mischaracterization of practices from more than four years ago, before early 2020.”

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