Grindr Accused of Treating Gay Man’s Medical Data Like ‘Piece of Meat’

Grindr, the popular dating app, is facing a civil lawsuit alleging the misuse of users’ private information, including HIV status. A gay man has accused the tech platform of treating his personal medical data like “a piece of meat,” as he joins nearly 1,300 others in a class action claim against the US-owned company in the UK high court.

Grindr’s Alleged Misuse of Private Information

The lawsuit claims that Grindr misused sensitive data, including details about users’ HIV status and when they last took a test. This class action seeks compensation and damages for a breach of UK data protection laws. According to the claim, Grindr allegedly shared sensitive data with third parties for commercial purposes without users’ consent, a serious accusation against the dating app.

HIV Status Misused by Grindr

The anonymous claimant, who must remain unnamed for legal reasons, claims he was targeted with adverts for HIV therapies on Grindr and other social media platforms after disclosing his HIV positive status. “I was really upset,” he said. “Grindr is a gay institution.” This sentiment echoes the distress of many users who trusted Grindr with their sensitive information, only to feel betrayed by the platform’s actions.

Legal Coordination by Austen Hays

The civil lawsuit against Grindr is being coordinated by the City of London law firm Austen Hays. The firm alleges that Grindr also shared information about users’ ethnicity, sex life, and sexual orientation. In 2021, the Norwegian data protection authority fined Grindr €6.5 million for disclosing user data to third parties for marketing purposes without a legal basis, highlighting the seriousness of these allegations.

Significant Distress Among Claimants

Chaya Hanoomanjee, the lawyer leading the UK claim, stated that the claimants had experienced “significant distress” and suffered “fear, embarrassment, and anxiety as a result.” The lawsuit underscores the emotional and psychological impact of Grindr’s alleged misuse of private information, which has affected the lives of many users.

Grindr’s Response to the Allegations

A spokesperson for Grindr stated: “Grindr has never sold or shared user-reported health information, including HIV status, for advertising purposes, as is inaccurately suggested in this legal claim. As we will demonstrate in our response, this claim is based on a fundamental mischaracterisation of practices from more than four years ago, prior to early 2020.” Despite this, users feel betrayed and demand answers regarding the use of their sensitive information.

Users’ Concerns About Data Privacy

The anonymous user, who met his husband on Grindr, expressed his concern about the misuse of his data. He emphasized the importance of being honest about HIV status on the platform to ensure safety and precautions among users. However, the targeted adverts for HIV treatments made him feel exploited. “I didn’t expect Grindr to go and sell it on like a piece of meat. It’s not their business. It’s my life,” he said.

The Core of the Claim Against Grindr

Hanoomanjee stated: “The core of our clients’ claim is that sensitive information that they trusted Grindr with was shared without their consent. Whilst Grindr says the data was not shared for advertising purposes, our clients want to understand why it was shared at all. Our clients have to be compensated even if that was only a historic practice as it has affected them and their lives massively.”

Seeking Justice and Compensation

The class action claim against Grindr seeks justice and compensation for the misuse of sensitive user data. This lawsuit highlights the importance of data privacy and the responsibilities of tech platforms in protecting user information. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for data privacy practices in the tech industry.