Tinder should be “investigated” for unlawfully storing user data, asserts MEP

tinder on android
Tinder could be the latest app to land in hot water over privacy concerns in Europe following the accusations of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Belgian socialist Marc Tarabella — who is a substitute on the EU’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee — has issued a press release in which he urged the European Commission to open an investigation of Tinder.

Updated 08-o4-2016 by Saqib Shah: Added statement from Tinder

Tarabella claims that the “conditions of use imposed by Tinder violate European law.” The crux of his argument concerns the company’s storage and reuse of consumer data, even after an account has been deactivated.

Tarabella states: “When you register on [Tinder], the company can do what it wants [with] your data: show, distribute to anyone or even change [it]. The lack of transparency should not be the rule!”

Tinder is not the only mobile app Tarabella is concerned about. He also targets  fellow dating service Happn and fitness app Runkeeper, which he claims collect and transmit user data to third parties. The MEP states that the problem is with the apps’ “concept of consent.”

“The consumer has not given … consent to the transmission of data to third parties when the application is offline in the case of Runkeeper or Happn,” states Tarabella. “[Nor] accepted … data being sold to third parties. Finally, it is forbidden to store unlimited data, but again it is often the … uncertainty that prevails.”

A Tinder spokesperson responded to Digital Trends with the following statement: “Our users’ privacy is important to us and we routinely update our terms of use, privacy policies and practices to address evolving privacy laws in the nearly 200 countries where Tinder operates. We take Mr. Tarabella’s comments seriously, and we will review them as part of a process that is already underway at Tinder to best address the needs of our users and ensure we are compliant with applicable privacy laws.”

Tech companies are having a rough time in Europe this year, in the wake of increasing concerns over the storage of user data. Facebook, for example, has faced privacy probes in both Belgium and Germany over its tracking of users’ web activity.

Norway (which is not part of the EU but is a member of the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association) has previously filed formal complaints against both Runkeeper and Tinder for violating EU privacy law. The country’s Consumer Council also conducted a marathon 32-hour livestream during which it read aloud the terms and conditions of 33 mobile apps.

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