Many Dating Apps in Breach of GDPR

dating app on mobile

A study by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) has shown that many popular dating apps are in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Dating apps like Tinder, Grindr and OKCupid seem to sell user’s data to third parties without declaring this beforehand. This is in violation of the European privacy law.

Selling Personal Data to Third Parties

The NCC published their research on Tuesday. Their findings show how a large amount of personal data ends up in the hands of many different companies without users being aware of the information sharing. Every time you use your phone the apps that are active collect data about you. This data, that can tell a lot about your interests and online habits, is bundled and eventually sold. This is legal as long as the app informs the user about these practices. However, many apps do not provide this information to their users. Now it seems that dating apps like Tinder and Grindr withhold this type of information. The information they collect on these platforms can be very personal. For instance, apps like that often known your GPS location, sexual preference, age, sex, and in some instances health stats.

Many Privacy Issues with Dating Apps

Selling a user’s personal data without their knowledge is a gross violation of the GDPR. Even so, this isn’t the only privacy issue with many dating apps. For example, we know that the app Grindr (a dating app for homo- and bisexual men) makes it way to easy for someone to find your precise location. This is a privacy risk, especially in regions where homosexuality isn’t accepted. Tinder users should also be careful because all their messages and actions on the app are saved.

Twitter Bans Grindr from Advertising

After the publication of the Norwegian research, Twitter decided to temporarily block Grindr in their advertisement network MoPub. This network helps apps find ads so they can make more money. Twitter announced that they want to look into the privacy issues surrounding Grindr before letting them back onto the network.

If the apps are in breach of the GDPR they can face fines up to 4 percent of their global revenue.

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is's cybersecurity news coordinator.