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The Grindr relationship app, aimed at gay, bisexual and trans audiences, was fined 100 million Norwegian kroner (kroner) - about R $ 62,9 million, in direct conversion - after being convicted by the Norwegian Data Protection Authority for sharing personal user information with advertising agencies, putting at risk the privacy and security them.

According to the authority's order, Grindr passed on data such as exact locations and user tracking codes to at least five digital advertising companies, essentially marking individuals as members of the LGBTQIA + community without obtaining their explicit permission - which is a breach of regulation privacy policy in Europe, the so-called GDPR. One of the companies that received the data was MoPub, the mobile advertising agency in the Twitter, which has more than 100 business partners who, consequently, would have access to this information.

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To make matters worse, some of the other agencies do business in countries like Qatar and Pakistan, nations where homosexual relationships are prohibited by law, as quoted by Tobias Judin, head of the international sector at the Norwegian Data Protection Authority.

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The dating app Grindr, aimed at the gay audience, was sharing user data in Europe. Image: natmac stock / Shutterstock

"If someone discovers that [the users] are gay and knows their movements, these people can be persecuted," said the director. "We are making these apps and services understand that this approach - not informing users, not obtaining valid data sharing consent - is completely unacceptable."

Controversy comes since 2020

It is not the first time that Grindr has appeared in the media in reports of violation of privacy. The American newspaper New York Times, in January 2020, conducted tests that proved that the app's location monitoring is so accurate that it was able to determine whether a user was next to or in front of a specific building. In April of the same year, the company behind the app claimed to have revamped its sharing permission processes.

In a statement, a spokesman for Grindr denied the allegations, saying that the company has obtained permission to share "all" its European users on repeated occasions, extolling its privacy policy as "first class" if compared to other apps of its kind.

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"We continually improve our privacy practices in light of evolving laws and regulations, and we look forward to entering into a productive dialogue with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority," said the platform's spokesman.

Grindr now has until February 15 to contest the fine. After the deadline, the conviction will become final and irreversible. In the meantime, the Norwegian regulatory agency has said it will continue to investigate the case in order to determine whether the advertising agencies that received the sensitive data would also be in conflict with GDPR.

Source: The New York Times (1)