Grindr facing UK data lawsuit for allegedly sharing users' HIV status


Grindr app is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai, China March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/Illustration/ File photo

LONDON (Reuters) -Gay dating app Grindr is facing a mass data protection lawsuit in London from hundreds of users who allegedly had their private information, including HIV status, shared with third parties without consent, a law firm said on Monday.

Austen Hays, which said the lawsuit is being filed at London's High Court, said thousands of Grindr users in the United Kingdom may have been affected.

The firm alleges users' highly sensitive information, including HIV status and the date of their latest HIV test, were provided to third parties for commercial purposes.

A spokesperson for Grindr initially said in a statement that it planned to "respond vigorously to this claim, which appears to be based on a mischaracterisation of practices from more than four years ago".

The spokesperson later said in an updated statement: "Grindr has never shared user-reported health information for 'commercial purposes' and has never monetized such information."

Austen Hays said around 670 people had signed up to the lawsuit over breaches said to have taken place between 2018 and 2020, with potentially thousands more joining the case.

"Grindr owes it to the LGBTQ+ community it serves to compensate those whose data has been compromised and have suffered distress as a result," the firm's managing director, Chaya Hanoomanjee, said in a statement.

The company must "ensure all its users are safe while using the app, wherever they are, without fear that their data might be shared with third parties", Hanoomanjee said.

Grindr's spokesperson said: "We are committed to protecting our users' data and complying with all applicable data privacy regulations, including in the UK."

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Alison Williams)

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