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29/08/2016

Member states swipe left: Tinder has (court) date in EU countries

Digital

Member states swipe left: Tinder has (court) date in EU countries

Consumer organisations in three EU countries filed complaints against Tinder.

[Youtube]

Consumer organisations in two EU countries lodged complaints against US-based dating app Tinder today (3 March) for its restrictive user contracts.

Slovenian and Dutch organisations joined a complaint filed by the Norwegian Consumer Council. The organisation is in talks with other groups that are considering filing a complaint in more member states.

The campaigners argue Tinder’s user terms breach EU law by reserving the right to repurpose user-generated data at any point—including personal photos—even after an account is deactivated.

Tinder consumers give the company the “worldwide right and license to use, copy, store, perform, display, reproduce, record, play, adapt, modify and distribute” that data, according to the app’s terms of use.

Campaigners also slammed the company for not allowing users to permanently delete, but only deactivate, their accounts.

Consumer groups take action

The Norwegian Consumer Council points to Tinder’s contracts that require users to resolve disputes with the company under the law of the US state of Texas.

Tinder’s privacy policy also specifies that the company does not have to inform users if the contract terms are changed after they’ve signed up.

The four organisations that backed the complaint are all members of umbrella group BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

“Consumers from across the EU are using Tinder and other popular apps on a daily basis. It is unacceptable using these apps seems to be going hand in hand with giving up on longstanding consumer and privacy rights,” said Johannes Kleis, head of communications at BEUC.

“Tinder needs to take swift action to improve their relationship with EU law,” he added.

Tinder spokeswoman Rosette Pambakian wrote in a statement to EurActiv, “At Tinder, we make every effort to comply with all local and national regulations, privacy and otherwise. If and when authorities bring up larger privacy concerns, we always take them into consideration and, if applicable to our users, take steps to implement any necessary changes.”

“We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and strive to uphold a fair and trusted privacy policy,” Pambakian wrote.

The company does not report how many users are signed onto the app, though estimates peg the figure at over 50 million worldwide.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, which led the investigation on Tinder, sent its findings to consumer organisations around Europe.

Last month, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed a complaint against Happn, another US-based dating app, for mishandling and sharing European users’ personal data—including their Facebook profile, age and gender—with analytics company Upsight.

A complaint was also filed against Happn with the French data protection authority.

Yesterday, the German competition authority announced it has opened an investigation into Facebook’s use of consumers’ personal data to abuse its market position.

The Norwegian Consumer Council published a report today on its probes of apps.

Background

The Norwegian Consumer Council and consumer organisations in Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands filed a complaint against US-based dating app Tinder on 3 March 2016 for restrictive user contracts.

Further Reading