Grindr sued for allegedly sharing users’ HIV status

Dating app Grindr is being sued for allegedly sharing users’ personal information, including their HIV status and ethnicity.

According to reports from the BBC, the claim was lodged at the High Court in London, alleging that Grindr had used “covert tracking technology”, and that highly sensitive information had been illegally shared with third parties, such as advertisers.

Law firm Austen Hays told the BBC that “thousands” of users in the UK were affected, and if the case is successful, more than 650 claimants could receive thousands of pounds in damages.

Chaya Hanoomanjee, the lawyer leading the claim, said claimants “experienced significant distress over their highly sensitive and private information being shared without their consent”.

In a statement, the LGBTQ+ dating app said the company takes privacy “extremely seriously”, adding that the allegations appear to be “based on a mischaracterisation of practices from more than four years ago”.

The claim outlined that Grindr had allegedly shared sensitive data, including users’ ethnicity, sexual orientation and HIV status, with third parties – a practice which is in breach of the UK’s data privacy laws.

The alleged offences are said to have occurred before 3 April 2018, but data was also shared between 25 May 2018 and 7 April 2020, it is claimed.

Grindr. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

This is not the first time the LGBTQ+ dating app has had its privacy policies scrutinised. In 2021, Grindr was fined 65 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately £5.5 million) for illegally sharing user data, including age, gender and GPS locations, with third-party advertisers. The head of the international section of the Data Protection Authority in Norway, Tobias Judin, condemned the breach, saying: “Grindr has disclosed user data to third parties for behavioural advertisement without a legal basis.” 

The following year, The Wall Street Journal reported that precise user locations had been collected and sold between 2017 and 2020. A Grindr spokesperson said at the time that the company “has shared less information with ad partners than any of the big tech platforms”.

A spokesperson for Grindr told PinkNews: “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 programme and take privacy extremely seriously. 

“We intend to respond vigorously to this claim, which appears to be based on a mischaracterisation of practices from more than four years ago, prior to early 2020.”

Grindr is reportedly used by 13.5 million people each month, with about 924,000 of them in the UK.

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