FTC Urged To Investigate Grindr's Data Practices

The advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the privacy practices of LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr – including whether the app enabled advertisers to obtain sensitive data without users' consent.

The watchdog's complaint to the FTC, brought Wednesday, is largely based on allegations in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in June by Grindr's former chief privacy officer, Ronald De Jesus.

He alleged that Grindr continued to store sensitive data – including private messages, naked photos and information about HIV status – after users deleted their accounts. He also alleged Grindr allowed third parties to collect data about users when they viewed ads – even if those ads weren't clicked on.



The Electronic Privacy Information Center argues to the FTC that the allegations in De Jesus's complaint warrant an investigation.

“Grindr’s apparent personal data practices have caused or are likely to cause substantial injury to its users and former users because they expose users to security breaches of highly sensitive data, including health information like HIV status,” the advocacy group writes.

A Grindr spokesperson says privacy is a “top priority,” and that the company has “adopted industry-leading privacy practices and tools to protect and empower our users.”

The spokesperson added, “We are sorry that the former employee behind the unfounded allegations in today's request is dissatisfied with his departure from the company; we wish him the best.”

Grindr was previously fined around $7 million by privacy authorities in Norway for allegedly sharing users' sensitive information with third-party ad networks. That fine, based on practices that allegedly occurred between July 2018 and April 2020, was upheld last week by a Norwegian appellate board.

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