European Lawmaker Swipes Left on Tinder Data Collection

The dating app is said to gather too much personal data.

Getty Images / Vivien Killilea

Tinder isn’t going to “match” with European Parliament member Marc Tarabella.

Tarabella recently urged his fellow lawmakers in the European Union to investigate whether the company’s data collection policies break the law, and to “hunt” other services that aren’t transparent about how they use customer data.

He claims that Tinder will continue to use someone’s data, photos, and other information even if they deactivate their account. “The European Consumer must choose what [sic] to share such information with third parties,” he wrote in a Facebook post, translated from the original French. “But it is too often the victim of the lack of transparency orchestrated by unscrupulous companies.”

Tarabella also claimed that other apps, like Runkeeper and Happn, also collect information in the background without informing their users that they will do so. They’re also said to sell that data to third parties without their customers’ consent. These practices, if Tarabella is correct, would run counter to European laws introduced in 2015.

The EU’s laws are much more strict than similar protections in the United States, and many American companies have struggled to respect the laws overseas because their businesses rely on collecting and selling data in less-than-transparent ways.

All that could change, however, once the EU raises its new “privacy shield” that would force companies to safely handle data traveling overseas.

But for now, American companies are still working to adapt to the EU’s rules. According to Tarabella, Tinder, Runkeeper, and Happn haven’t quite been successful in that endeavor. Apps must be “fair, transparent and easy to understand for users,” he says, but people are often victims of “the lack of transparency orchestrated by unscrupulous companies.”

This isn’t limited to mobile apps, either. Large companies like Microsoft have been criticized for their data collection practices, too, and Facebook in particular has drawn the ire of European citizens for invading their privacy.

Tarabella says people have a fundamental right to privacy, and that “companies that violate these rights must pay the price!” If his fellow lawmakers agree, there’s a chance that these mobile apps will have to either change their data collection practices or run the risk of being embroiled in legal battles overseas.